5.5M Earthquake on Kīlauea Volcano’s South Flank Shakes Island

This post has been updated.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a magnitude-5.5 earthquake located beneath Kīlauea Volcano’s south flank at 12:55 a.m. on Wednesday.

The earthquake was centered about 12 km (7.5 miles) southeast of Kīlauea caldera near the Hōlei Pali area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at a depth of 6.7 km (4.1 mi).

Light to moderate shaking, with maximum Intensity of VI, has been reported across the Islands of Hawai‘i and Maui.  At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures is not expected.  The USGS “Did you feel it?” service received over 260 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake. 

According to HVO seismic network manager Brian Shiro, the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea Volcano.

“We see no detectable changes in volcanic activity at the summit or along the rift zones of Kīlauea as a result of this earthquake. Aftershocks are possible and could be felt,” said Shiro.

HVO continues to monitor Kīlauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.

Kīlauea’s south flank has been the site of 16 earthquakes of magnitude-5.0 or greater during the past 40 years. Most are caused by abrupt motion of the volcano’s south flank, which moves to the southeast over the oceanic crust. The location, depth, and waveforms recorded as part of today’s earthquake are consistent with slip along this south flank fault.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.

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