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M-4.4 Quake Shakes Waimea

December 14, 2020, 9:45 AM HST
* Updated December 14, 4:44 PM
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A magnitude-4.4 earthquake near Waimea was felt in West Hawai‘i at 9:27 a.m.

According to the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the quake was approximately 12 miles south southeast of Waimea, located beneath Maunakea’s northwest flank.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports there is no tsunami threat to the Big Island. The quake was initially reported as an M-4.2 but was later upgraded to M-4.4.

According to HVO, the region surrounding Maunakea’s summit has persistent deep earthquake activity, with over 30 earthquakes located at depths greater than 12 miles every year. These earthquakes are typically small.

The northwest flank of Maunakea has experienced only nine earthquakes greater than magnitude-4.0, within the past 60 years. Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by the structural adjustment of the Earth’s crust due to the heavy load of Maunakea.

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“This earthquake was widely felt across the Island of Hawai‘i, and even as far away as O‘ahu,” said HVO acting Scientist-in-Charge David Phillips.

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As in all earthquakes, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency advises residents to be aware of the possibility of after-shocks.

“If the earthquake was strongly felt in your area, precautionary checks should be made for any damages; especially to utility connections of gas, water, and electricity,” Civil Defense suggested.

So far, no reports of damage have been reported.

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