The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reports that, starting just before 6 a.m. HST Sunday morning, March 5, 2017, a flurry of small earthquakes occurred on Kīlauea Volcano’s upper East Rift Zone.
The earthquakes were concentrated about 5-6 km (3-4 mi) southeast of Kīlauea’s summit in an area between Hi‘iaka and Koʻokoʻolau Craters on the Chain of Craters Road in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The sequence consisted of 31 earthquakes over a period of about 42 minutes. The eight largest events had magnitudes ranging from 1.7 to 3.9 and depths of about 2-4 km (1-2 mi) beneath the surface.
At least six of the earthquakes were felt on the Island of Hawaiʻi, primarily in the Ka‘ū and Puna Districts. The USGS “Did you feel it?” website (earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/) received more than 30 felt reports within an hour of the largest earthquake, which occurred at 6:13 a.m. Weak to light shaking, with maximum Intensity of IV, has been reported. At that intensity, damage to buildings or structures is not expected.
The size and location of this morning’s earthquake sequence suggest a source that may be related to the ongoing pressurized magma storage system beneath the Kīlauea summit area. According to Tina Neal, HVO Scientist-in-Charge, the earthquakes caused no significant changes in Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions. No changes in deformation or ground surface cracks were observed in the area.
For more information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and Kīlauea eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.