4.2 magnitude Hawaii earthquake has officials closely monitoring nearby volcanos


A magnitude 4.2 earthquake was felt Wednesday afternoon on Hawaii’s Big Island

The tremor struck off the Ka‘ū coast, about 7.5 miles east-southeast of Pāhala, shortly after 4:30 p.m. HST.

There were 89 reports of the earthquake in the first half-hour. 

“Reported shaking intensity was very light (V on the Modified Mercalli scale) and little or no damage is expected,” the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement.

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An aerial view of the course prior to the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on Jan. 11, 2022, in Honolulu. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

There was no apparent impact on either the Mauna Loa or Kīlauea volcanoes. 

However, the observatory is continuing to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. 

This earthquake is part of the seismic swarm under the Pāhala area, which has been ongoing since 2019. 

Quakes in the region have been observed going as far back as the 1960s.

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Lava erupts in the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater of the Kilauea Volcano on Jan. 6, 2023, in Kilauea, Hawaii. (Andrew Richard Hara/Getty Images)

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Aftershocks are possible in the coming days and weeks, and the agency also reported a magnitude 3.9 earthquake in the evening just hours later, 

That earthquake occurred six miles north-northeast of Hōnaunau-Nāpōʻopoʻo at 7:27 p.m. HST.

There were 110 reports from people who felt it within the first 30 minutes, with no damage expected.

An aerial view of the Mauna Loa volcano

An aerial view of the Mauna Loa volcano erupting on Dec. 9, 2022, in Hilo, Hawaii. (Andrew Richard Hara/Getty Images)

The observatory said that the depth, location and recorded seismic waves of the earthquake suggest a source due to bending of the oceanic plate from the weight of the Hawaiian island chain, a common source for earthquakes in this area.

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“The event is likely related to stress from the weight of the island on the underlying ocean crust and was not directly related to volcanic processes,” it said, adding that the earthquake had no apparent impact on Kīlauea, Mauna Loa or Hualālai volcanoes.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii and American Samoa. 



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