USGS HVO Press Release - Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake North of Nā‘ālehu

Release Date:

The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.5 earthquakelocated in the Ka‘ū District of the Island of Hawai‘i on Saturday, May 9, at 2:18 a.m., HST. 

According to Wes Thelen, HVO's Seismic Network Manager, this earthquake was centered about 8 km (5 mi) north of Nā‘ālehu at a depth of 9.7 km (6.0 mi). A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic/volcweb/earthquakes/. 

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 over 70 felt reports within an hour of the earthquake. Light shaking (Intensity IV) has been reported across the island. At these shaking intensities, damage to buildings or structures is not expected. 

Three aftershocks (magnitudes 1.6, 1.5, 1.4) of the earthquake were recorded as of 3:30 a.m., HST. Additional aftershocks are possible and could be felt.

Over the past 30 years, the area north of Nā‘ālehu has experienced 6 earthquakes, including today's event, with magnitudes greater than 4.0 and at depths of 5–13 km (3.1–8.1 mi). This area of Ka‘ū is a seismically active region where a magnitude-6.2 earthquake occurred in 1919. Areas adjacent to this morning's event experienced earthquakes of magnitudes 6.0, 7.1, and 7.9 in 1868. 

The depth, location, and recorded seismic waves of today's earthquake suggest a source on the large fault plane between the old ocean floor and overlying volcanic crust, a common source for earthquakes in this area. 

The earthquake caused no detectable changes in Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing eruptions, on Mauna Loa, or at other active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai‘i. A magnitude-3.1 earthquake that occurred in Kīlauea Caldera about one minute before the magnitude-4.5 earthquake was unrelated to the Nā‘ālehu event.

For information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

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

USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit USGS.gov, and follow us on Twitter @USGS and our other social media channels

Subscribe to our news releases via RSS, or Twitter

Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.