USGS HVO Information Statement—Magnitude-4.9 earthquake under Lō‘ihi seamount, south of the Island of Hawai‘i
The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.9 earthquake located on Kamaʻehuakanaloa (Lō‘ihi) volcano, south of the Island of Hawai‘i on Friday, December 24, at 01:32 a.m. HST. The earthquake was centered about 42 km (26 miles) southeast of Nā‘ālehu, at a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles).
A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website at http://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/hv72844817/.
Light shaking, with maximum Intensity of IV, has been reported across parts of the Island of Hawai‘i. At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures is not expected. The USGS "Did you feel it?" service (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/) received over 15 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.
According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Ken Hon, the earthquake was preceded by over 50 small earthquakes on the south rift zone of Kamaʻehuakanaloa over the past two weeks. It is unknown as to whether it was caused by any volcanic or intrusive activity on Kamaʻehuakanaloa, but the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes. Aftershocks are possible and could be felt. HVO continues to monitor Mauna Loa and other Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.
According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.
For information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at http://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo.
Background: Intermittent earthquake activity has been recorded in the vicinity of Lō‘ihi since as early as 1952. The most energetic earthquake sequence occurred in July-August 1996, which included more than 4,000 earthquakes, with nearly 300 events larger than M3.0 and 95 events in the M4.0 to 4.9 range. More recently, a swarm of 100 earthquakes occurred on May 11, 2020, with 18 events in the M3.0 to 3.9 range. There are no working monitoring instruments on Lō‘ihi Volcano, whose peak is about 1,000 m (3,280 ft) below sea level. All real-time information about the volcano is derived from land-based seismometers on the Island of Hawai‘i.
Lō‘ihi Seamount website: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/loihi-seamount
Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/
Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards
Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): http://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo
Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi.
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