USGS HVO Press Release — Magnitude 4.8 earthquake south of Kīlauea Volcano's summit

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The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude 4.8 earthquakebeneath the Island of Hawai‘i on Sunday, August 11, 2013, at 5:54 a.m., HST. It was followed by several aftershocks, the largest of which was a magnitude 3.4 earthquake at 6:06 a.m.

The earthquakes were located 8 km (5 mi) south of the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, almost directly below the Kulanaokuaiki campground within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, at a depth of about 32 km (20 mi). A map showing the location of the earthquakes is posted on the HVO website at 

According to Wes Thelen, HVO's Seismic Network Manager, "These earthquakes were most likely structural adjustments of the Earth's crust due to the weight of the island on the underlying mantle. The earthquake likely occurred on a near-horizontal fault plane in the mantle, which has hosted earthquakes in this region before. Despite their location near Kīlauea's summit, it's unlikely that the earthquakes were volcanic in nature due to their depth, which is below, and offset from, the volcano's known magma plumbing system." 

HVO Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua added that the earthquakes had no apparent effect on Kīlauea's ongoing eruptions. "HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summits or rift zones of Kīlauea or other Hawaiian volcanoes."

The magnitude 4.8 earthquake was felt throughout the Island of Hawai‘i, as well as on parts of Maui and O‘ahu. The USGS "Did you feel it?" Web site ( received almost 400 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake. 

Kauahikaua said that the larger event is only the second earthquake with a magnitude greater than 4 to occur at this location and depth since the start of Kīlauea's ongoing East Rift Zone eruption in 1983. The first one occurred on February 17, 2000. There were six such earthquakes in the 20 years before Kīlauea's ongoing East Rift Zone eruption began.

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

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

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