HomeAsian AmericansEarthquake with 5.7 magnitude strikes Hawaii’s Big Island

Earthquake with 5.7 magnitude strikes Hawaii’s Big Island

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island this Friday, concerning residents of nearby towns and causing a temporary blackout, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune

The earthquake, which the U.S. Geological Survey initially reported as magnitude 6.3, caused no “serious damage” and did not raise concerns for a tsunami, PBS reported. 

Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano and one of five volcanos on the Big Island, erupted in 2022. 

“It shook us bad to where it wobbled some knees a little bit,” said Derek Nelson, manager of the Kona Canoe Club restaurant, to PBS. “It shook all the windows in the village.”

San Diego Union-Tribune reported that earthquakes in Hawaii often result from magma moving under the volcano. In the case of Mauna Loa, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory speculates the Earth’s crust and upper mantle was under stress from the weight of the islands of Hawaii. 

Helen Janiszewski, assistant professor in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Department of Earth Sciences, noted that Hawaii lies on the Pacific oceanic tectonic plate, which makes it prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters. 

“There’s a huge amount of mass of rock associated with the islands, and because of that, it’s actually enough to slightly displace the Pacific oceanic plate beneath the islands,” Janiszewski said to San Diego Union-Tribune. “That force causes earthquakes sometimes.”

Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth noted there were minor rockslides on the Hamakua Coast and in Ka’u, but there were no injuries, according to Hawaii News Now

Residents of the island described items falling from their shelves and pictures flying off their walls. One resident who lives in Kailua-Kona, Kym Kiser, shared her experience when the earthquake struck. 

“I could hear it coming down the hill like a freight train again,” Kiser said to Hawaii News Now. “That’s when I bolted out the door.”

The earthquake was also felt on neighboring islands such as Oahu. 

Malia Zannoni, who works at International Market Place on Oahu, said she noticed pictures and computer screens shaking back and forth, reported Hawaii News Now.

“It was felt widely around the Big Island, but not just the Big Island but other islands as well,” said David Phillips, deputy scientist-in-charge at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, to SFGATE. “We got a lot of reports from Oahu and a lot from Maui, and we’ve even gotten a few from Kauai.”

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