Magnitude 5.0 Hawaiian Earthquake Strikes Largest Active Volcano On the Planet

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake rocked the Hawaiian islands on Friday. And while there were no significant damages or injuries reported, the trembling left islanders wary. Reports state the earthquake struck the largest active volcano on the planet, Mauna Loa.

According to Fox News, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that two moderate quakes occurred beneath the southern end of the island around 9:07 a.m. local time. A magnitude 4.6 earthquake was detected slightly offshore and south of Pāhala. It was then followed by a 5.0 quake 24 seconds later beneath Highway 11.

“The two earthquakes occurred within 24 seconds of each other,” the USGS said. They “[created] shaking of longer duration and possibly greater intensity than either of the earthquakes would have created on their own.”

The pair of quakes were followed by rattling aftershocks, most achieving a 3.0 although some managed to reach 4.0.

These are significant as experts note that the series of quakes seem related to”readjustments” along Muana Loa volcano’s southeastern flank. Currently, there is no evidence that the recent quaking could trigger a potential eruption. Nonetheless, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is keeping a close watch on the peak. Fortunately, the news outlet reports that while earthquakes have triggered Mauna Loa eruptions before, they’ve typically been larger than Friday’s back-to-back earthquakes.

Minor Damage Reported in Pāhala Following Significant Earthquakes

Though there has reportedly been no major structural damage or loss as a result of Friday’s earthquakes, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth reported that certain locations in Pāhala did see some destruction.

According to the outlet, Mizuno Superette, Pāhala’s only grocery store, closed for nearly two hours after the shaking stopped as it left broken glass jars on the floor and knocked out electricity to the building. A cashier at the grocery store, Laurie Tackett, shared her experience while working during the earthquakes.

“The ground was just shaking,” she recalled. “It was a little scary.”

Immediately after the pair of earthquakes shook the island, hundreds of people reported feeling the tremors, with reports coming from across the entire state. Experts at the time worried that the trembling could do some minor local damage, especially to “older structures.”

Though the initial earthquakes have since ceased, the USGS expects that aftershocks from the surprise occurrence could endure for days, or even weeks, with some potentially large enough to be felt.

Yellowstone National Park Endures Hundreds of Quakes In One Month

While we wait to hear more about Hawaii’s latest string of earthquakes—and potentially a volcanic eruption—we’re turning our attention back to the continental U.S. where our country’s oldest national park, Yellowstone, experienced more than 500 earthquakes throughout the month of September.

Altogether, the USGS reports Yellowstone National Park experienced a total 510 earthquakes last month. For perspective, that’s nearly double the average monthly number of quakes. Officials report the chain of quakes took place near Grizzly Lake in the national park’s northwest region. September’s unusually high number of earthquakes is reportedly part of an earthquake “swarm” that began there back in July.