Categorized | Earthquake, News

Weak 3.7M quake in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park felt in Hilo Friday (Dec 16)

Recording from a seismic sensor in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Friday (Dec 16) by USGS/HVO.

Recording from a seismic sensor in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Friday (Dec 16) by USGS/HVO.

A weak 3.7 magnitude earthquake shook Hawaii Island at 8:45 p.m. HST Friday (Dec 16) with an epicenter in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park about 5.1 miles (8.3 km) west-northwest of Kaena Point. The depth of the quake was 5.9 miles (9.5km)

Temblors this weak are unlikely to cause any damage. According to the USGS Did You Feel It? webpage and social media the quake was felt in Hilo, Kona, Pepeekeo, Papaikou, Laupahoehoe and more strongly in areas closer to the epicenter.

Epicenter of the 3.7 magnitude quake Friday (Dec 16) is marked with a star. Map by USGS.

Epicenter of the 3.7 magnitude quake Friday (Dec 16) is marked with a star. Map by USGS.

USGS: How large does an earthquake have to be to cause a tsunami?

Magnitudes below 6.5
Earthquakes of this magnitude are very unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

Magnitudes between 6.5 and 7.5
Earthquakes of this size do not usually produce destructive tsunamis. However, small sea level changes may be observed in the vicinity of the epicenter. Tsunamis capable of producing damage or casualties are rare in this magnitude range but have occurred due to secondary effects such as landslides or submarine slumps.

Magnitudes between 7.6 and 7.8
Earthquakes of this size may produce destructive tsunamis especially near the epicenter; at greater distances small sea level changes may be observed. Tsunamis capable of producing damage at great distances are rare in the magnitude range.

Magnitude 7.9 and greater
Destructive local tsunamis are possible near the epicenter, and significant sea level changes and damage may occur in a broader region.

Note that with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the probability of an aftershock with a magnitude exceeding 7.5 is not negligible. To date, the largest aftershock recorded has been magnitude 7.1 that did not produce a damaging tsunami.

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