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S. Kona Quake Not Large Enough to Trigger Tsunami

December 4, 2020, 8:43 AM HST
* Updated December 4, 9:13 AM
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A magnitude 4.1 earthquake in South Kona this morning was not large enough to trigger a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports.

The quake occurred at approximately 7:44 a.m. Preliminary data indicates it was centered in the vicinity of the western flank of Mauna Loa.

According to US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) acting Scientist-in-Charge David Phillips, the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes.

“We do not currently observe any changes in activity at Kīlauea or Mauna Loa as a result of this earthquake,” Phillips said. “Please be aware that aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Kīlauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.”

According to the USGS HVO, today’s earthquake does not represent a significant departure from the seismic activity rate for the past year, so the Volcano Alert Level for Mauna Loa will remain at Advisory.

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Other Mauna Loa monitoring data streams show no significant change in deformation rates or patterns that would indicate increased volcanic hazard at this time, USGS HVO reports. Additionally, the earthquake this morning occurred in a location that has exhibited seismicity over the past several years.

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“Earthquakes in this location, approximately 3 miles northwest of Mauna Loa summit, are generally less than 5 miles below the surface and smaller than magnitude-2,” USGS HVO stated.

As in all earthquakes, residents are advised to be aware of the possibility of aftershocks, according to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency.

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