HVO: M-4.4 earthquake likely caused by ‘structural adjustment’ of Earth’s crust

  • The temblor, reported at 9:28 a.m., was centered about 12.5 miles south-southeast of Waimea and had a registered depth of 14.5 miles, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

No tsunami was triggered by a magnitude-4.4 earthquake that struck Monday morning on Maunakea’s northern flank.

The temblor, reported at 9:28 a.m., was centered about 12.5 miles south-southeast of Waimea and had a registered depth of 14.5 miles, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The earthquake was initially reported as a magnitude-4.2 and later upgraded to a magnitude-4.4.

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The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported no tsunami threat following the earthquake.

Nearly 100 people had reported feeling the earthquake by 9:45 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Did You Feel It? program. By 10:50 a.m., more than 700 felt reports had come in with one person reporting having felt the earthquake in Haleiwa, Oahu.

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

“This earthquake was widely felt across the Island of Hawaii, and even as far away as Oahu. Please be aware that aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes,” said HVO acting Scientist-in-Charge David Phillips,

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Maunakea has not erupted in more than 4,500 years, but officials believe the volcano will erupt again someday.

The earthquake did not change the volcano’s alert level and there are no signs of an eruption.

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