The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.5 earthquake located in the Kaʻū district, on Thursday, June 17, at 4:32 p.m.
The earthquake was centered about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Pāhala, at a depth of 33 km (21 miles) below sea level. A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website at https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes.
Moderate shaking, with maximum Intensity of V 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 over 350 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.
According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Ken Hon, the earthquake had no observable impact on the ongoing eruption at Kīlauea’s summit. In a statement Hon said, “this earthquake is part of the ongoing seismic swarm under the Pāhala area, which started in August 2019. This earthquake has been the largest to date in the current swarm and was widely felt across the Island of Hawai‘i, and as far away as Maui, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi. Aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. The Alert Levels / Color Codes remain at ADVISORY/YELLOW for Kīlauea and Mauna Loa at this time.”
The earthquake poses no tsunami threat to Hawaiʻi Island.
Earthquakes in this swarm occur beneath Kīlauea’s lower Southwest Rift Zone, beneath the town of Pāhala and in an area extending about 10 km (6 miles) offshore with occur mostly at depths of 25-40 km (15-25 miles). 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 information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at https://www.usgs.gov/hvo.