HomeOutdoorsWeatherHere’s Why This Town Has a Reported 600 Earthquakes Each Week

Here’s Why This Town Has a Reported 600 Earthquakes Each Week

by Emily Morgan
Why Town Has 600 Earthquakes Each Week
Photo by: dutourdumonde

The puzzling reason for one town’s continuous earthquakes has been revealed, and it’s nothing short of terrifying. According to research from Science.org, the Hawaiian town of Pahala sits on top of a giant reservoir of magma.

As a result, the town in the southern part of Hawaii’s Big Island experiences 600 earthquakes every week. The study also outlined “a region of horizontally layered magma storage deep beneath Pahala,” according to California Institute of Technology seismologists.

In addition, the region is believed to be a system of “sheeted structures,” known as a sill complex. The complex is nine miles long and plunged 26 miles into the Earth.

“Further supporting this idea, long period earthquakes (indicative of the movement of fluids such as magma) are seen occurring within these sills,” the report stated.

It added: “Together, these observations demonstrate that deep seismicity beneath Pahala is consistent with the migration and storage of magma within this sill complex.”

Scientists believe there is “a zone of volcano-tectonic” earthquakes below the town. As for the magma, scientists haven’t determined where it’s going but reveal that it may flow towards the Kilauea volcano. However, they note that “more evidence is needed to support or refute this hypothesis.”

According to the report, the massive influx of weekly quakes begins 12 to 25 miles underground. In addition, the most significant quakes are felt across the island.

Experts theorize Kilauea volcano could contribute to earthquake activity

Previously, the town was known for its vast sugar cane plantation. However, today, people know it as a “beautiful oasis” where people can walk over volcanic rock. USGS states that the area has been the area’s most seismically active site.

Despite this, tremors have been most active in the last five years. The report adds that the area has experienced nearly 192,000 seismic events in the past three and a half years.

“The jump actually occurred in mid-2019. It’s possible that it is a response to the massive draining from Kilauea (eruption) in 2018,” the USGS noted. “What is known is that the region has been a hotbed of deep seismicity for at least decades — ever since the capability of locating small earthquakes was established in Hawaii.”

Additionally, the earthquakes affecting the town weekly have ranked between 1.7 and 3.0 on the Richter scale. According to the USGS, earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.0 or less are known as microearthquakes. They are rarely felt by people.

The seismic activity in Pahala jumped up in 2018 after Kilauea’s collapse. At the time, it caused multiple lava flows that took out more than 700 homes. Those eruptions also triggered powerful earthquakes that saw its crater grow from around 100 to 500 meters deep. As a result, Kilauea remains one of the most active volcanos on Earth.