USGS HVO Press Release — Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake on the South Flank of Kīlauea Volcano

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The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude 4.7 earthquakelocated beneath Kīlauea volcano's south flank on Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 4:36 p.m. HST. This earthquake was centered near Holei Pali about 7 km (4 mi) south of the Pu`u `Ō `ō crater and 15 km (9 mi) west of Kalapana, at a depth of 8 km (5 mi).

The earthquake was widely felt on the Island of Hawai‘i. The USGS “Did you feel it?” Web site ( received 600 felt reports within two hours of the earthquake.

The magnitude-4.7 earthquake was followed by 20 aftershocks in two hours in the same area, the largest of which was magnitude-3.1.

The Holei Pali area of Kīlauea's south flank has been the site of 16 earthquakes of magnitude-4.5 or greater during the past 50 years, with 8 since 1983. Most are caused by abrupt motion of the volcano’s south flank moving southeast over the ocean crust at an average rate of 6.5 centimeters per year (2.6 inches per year) as a result of magma injected into the rift zone.

The earthquakes caused two small collapses of the West Ka‘ili‘ili lava delta that has been inactive since late December 2011. There were no other effects apparent on Kīlauea's ongoing eruptions or on Mauna Loa. HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summits or rift zones of the volcanoes.

For eruption updates and information on recent earthquakes in Hawai‘i, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at


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