The largest island in the Hawaii chain, Hawaii (known to locals as The Big island), has experienced an earthquake swarm this morning.
The 65 quakes reported by the US Geological Survey are occurring at shallow depths on the south-eastern flank of one of the planet’s most active volcanoes – Kilauea volcano.
The swarm of quakes started with a pair of quakes on June 15th, New Zealand time.
A quiet period followed, before activity resumed just after midnight this morning, Monday 18th June 2007, New Zealand time. The 65 earthquakes that have struck so far this morning have ranged between magnitude 2.5 (the USGS threshold for reporting) and 3.8. The quakes are occurring at depths between 0.1 km and 22 km near the town of Volcano, Hawaii, 350 km south-east of the state capital Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
Early indications are that the quakes could be caused by movement of magma rather than non-volcanic processes.
Earthquakes near Hawaii, the youngest in the island chain of volcanoes, are not rare. A non-volcanic magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck to the west of the island on October 16th 2006. The quake caused numerous minor injuries, damaged at least 1100 buildings and triggered several landslides. Power outages and damaged roads caused considerable disruption for the island’s inhabitants.
On the 21st of August 1951 a magnitude 6.9 quake damaged numerous houses and triggered landlsides.
The largest quake on record struck near the south coast of the island in 1868. This magnitude 7.9 quake triggered a tsunami that killed 46 people and landslides killed another 31.
[Compiled from data supplied by the US Geological Survey and its contributing agencies.]