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Earthquake Rattles Near Pāhala Early this Morning

January 31, 2022, 6:10 AM HST
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A magnitude-4.0 earthquake rumbled early this morning under the south part of Hawai‘i Island.

The earthquake occurred at 1:55 a.m. and was centered about 5 miles east-northeast of Pāhala, at a depth of 20 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported. A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/hv72897042/.

Courtesy of USGS

Light shaking, with maximum Intensity of IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, has been reported across parts of the Island of Hawai‘i. At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures is not expected. The USGS “Did you feel it?” service (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/) received 48 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.

“This earthquake appears to be part of the seismic swarm under the Pāhala area, which has been going on for over a year,” stated HVO seismologist Jefferson Chang. “Out of over ten thousand earthquakes that were detected in the area over the past year, four have been magnitude-4 or greater.”

HVO Scientist-in-Charge Ken Hon said the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes.

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“The eruption in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea summit resumed yesterday evening and we do not see any detectable changes in that eruption as a result of these earthquakes,” Hon stated.

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HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.

Earthquakes beneath Kīlauea’s lower Southwest Rift Zone are produced mostly at depths of 15-25 miles, beneath the town of Pāhala and extending about 6 miles offshore. Earthquakes in this region have been observed at least as far back as the 1960s and are posited to be related to deep magma pathways under the island. For more information, see the “Volcano Watch” article, “Why do so many deep earthquakes happen around Pāhala?”: https://www.usgs.gov/news/volcano-watch-why-do-so-many-deep-earthquakes-happen-around-pahala.

For information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo.

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