USGS HVO Press Release - Magnitude-4.7 Earthquake Occurs near Lō‘ihi Seamount

Release Date:

An earthquake of magnitude-4.7 (preliminary) was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on January 18 at 4:05 p.m. HST.

The earthquake was located about 16 km (10 miles) east of Nā‘ālehu and 24 km (15 miles) northwest of Lō‘ihi seamount at a depth of 40 km (25 miles). From early reports, the quake was felt as far away as Pepe‘ekeo, 15 km (10 miles) north of Hilo.

Lō‘ihi seamount is an active volcano situated on the seafloor south of Kīlauea Volcano about 30 km (19 miles) from the shoreline of Hawai‘i island. The seamount is 969 m (3,180 feet) below sea level.

Lō‘ihi seamount was the site of a flurry of earthquakes December 6 and 7, 2005. Over 100 earthquakes were located by HVO; the largest was a magnitude-3.5 (final).

Two earthquakes occurred in 2005 beneath Lō‘ihi—a magnitude-5.2 earthquake on July 17 and a magnitude-5.1 event on May 13. These two earthquakes are the largest recorded in the general Lō‘ihi region since a magnitude-4.9 earthquake occurred on September 13, 2001.

In July 1996, during a large earthquake swarm, more than a thousand events were located beneath the Lō‘ihi area. Between July 27–28, 1996, nearly 700 events were recorded during a 24-hour period. After the swarm, scientists on submersible dives to Lō‘ihi concluded that the earthquakes were accompanied by a significant collapse of the summit area and an apparent eruption.

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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