The USGS has reported a 6.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Hawaii. Thankfully, there is no tsunami warning at this time and damage appears to be minimal. According to reports, the earthquake began at 11:48 a.m local with the epicenter 17 miles from Naalehu in the south-southeast direction.
The quake was about 22 miles deep and caused six reported aftershocks. The biggest aftershock occurred right after. It came in at a 4.3 magnitude five minutes after the first quake.
Several reports of shaking came from both the South Kona and Kau districts of Hawaii Island. The “did you feel it” map from the USGS showed that even those as far as Kauai felt a tremor.
“Strong shaking, with a maximum Intensity of VI, has been reported across the Island of Hawai‘i, and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. At that intensity, very slight damage to buildings or structures may have occurred. The USGS “Did you feel it?” service […] received over 1300 felt reports within one hour of the earthquake,” the official USGS website says.
Angela Reich, a worker with Hawaii airlines told Hawaii News Now that the earthquake occurred while passengers were boarding a plane at the Kona International Airport.
“I was standing out here watching everyone board and it felt like a ripple underneath my feet, and I felt it twice,” she told the outlet.
The Earthquake Doesn’t Appear to Have Impacted Volcanic Activity
A big fear that comes to mind for those on the island when earthquakes occur is volcanic activity. Thankfully, Ken Hon, the scientist in charge at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, gave an optimistic look at current volcanic activity.
“Webcams and other data streams show no impact on the ongoing eruption at Kilauea except for a few minor rockfalls reported within Halemaumau crater,” he said. “Please be aware that other aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. The Alert Levels/Color Codes remain at WATCH/ORANGE for Kīlauea and ADVISORY/YELLOW for Mauna Loa at this time”
The cause of the quake also appears to have an explanation common to the Islands. Hawai’i is no stranger to earthquakes and has experienced quakes that have caused far more damage in the past. It’s an infamously seismically active region.
“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,” the USGS says.
After quakes like this, aftershocks can continue for a long time. It’s always best to use caution and keep an eye out for updates from the USGS if needed. Thankfully, it looks like the quake caused minimal damage despite its magnitude.