Hawaii Volcano Blog

Seismic Activity Increases Under Kamaʻehuakanaloa Seamount

July 17, 2022, 6:36 PM HST
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The volcanic seamount south of the Big Island formerly known as Lōʻihi is experiencing increased seismic activity.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, increased seismic activity beneath Kamaʻehuakanaloa seamount began at about 2 a.m. Saturday, July 16. HVO detected seismic tremor marked by pulses of seismic energy every 15-20 seconds, which was still ongoing Sunday afternoon, July 17.

About 24 hours after the activity began, two dozen M1.8-M3.0 earthquakes occurred from 1:30-6 a.m. Sunday.

“This seismic activity is likely the result of magma movement beneath Kamaʻehuakanaloa seamount and currently shows no sign of leading to an eruption,” HVO Scientist-in-Charge Ken Hon said in a press release. “If the swarm intensifies or changes significantly, HVO will issue an additional notice. Because of the great depth of the volcano within the ocean and style of Hawaiian eruptions, an eruption of Kamaʻehuakanaloa would pose no threat to the Island of Hawaiʻi.”

Neither Mauna Loa nor Kīlauea show any change in activity associated with the earthquake swarm.

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Intermittent earthquake activity has been recorded in the vicinity of Kama‘ehuakanaloa since as early as 1952. The most energetic earthquake sequence occurred from July-August in 1996, which included more than 4,000 earthquakes, with nearly 300 events larger than M3.0 and 95 events in the M4.0-M4.9 range. More recently, a swarm of 100 earthquakes occurred May 11, 2020, with 18 events in the M3.0-M3.9 range.

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There are no working monitoring instruments on Kama‘ehuakanaloa volcano, whose peak is about 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) below sea level. All real-time information about the volcano is derived from land-based seismometers on the Big Island.

To get the latest information about earthquakes, visit the USGS National Earthquake Information Center Latest Earthquakes Map. You can also see the USGS-HVO Interactive Earthquake Map of Hawaiʻi here.

For more information about Kama‘ehuakanaloa, click here.

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