USGS HVO Press Release - Magnitude-4.5 Earthquake on the North Flank of Mauna Kea

Release Date:

HAWAI‘I ISLAND, Hawai‘i — The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.5 earthquake located beneath the Island of Hawai‘i on Wednesday, October 19, at 2:10 p.m. HST. This earthquake was centered about 9 km (6 mi) northwest of Mauna Kea's summit and 49 km (31 mi) west-northwest of Hilo, at a depth of 18.7 km (11.6 mi).

The earthquake was widely felt on the Island of Hawai‘i . The USGS "Did you feel it?" Web site (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/dyfi/) received more than 500 felt reports within an hour of the earthquake.

The earthquake was the largest in a cluster of about 20 earthquakes on the north flank of Mauna Kea on Wednesday afternoon. Most of these aftershocks were too small to be felt, but, as of 3:30 p.m., two earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 3.0 had occurred in addition to the magnitude-4.5 event.

Over the past 25 years, the north flank of Mauna Kea has experienced 10 earthquakes greater than magnitude-4.0, including today's event, at depths of 10–40 km (6–25 mi). Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by structural adjustments within the Earth's crust due to the heavy load of Mauna Kea.

Adjustments beneath Mauna Kea during past similar events, such as in March 2010, have produced a flurry of earthquakes, with many small aftershocks occurring for days after the main quake. Given this history, it is possible that additional small earthquakes may be recorded in the coming days.

Today's earthquakes caused no detectable changes on the continuing eruption of Kīlauea Volcano.

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo

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