Two earthquakes hit the Big Island early Sunday morning. The first, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, as a magnitude-4.8 temblor at 5:54 a.m. The second was an aftershock at 6:06 a.m. that measured 3.4 on the seismometer.
The earthquakes were centered five miles south of the summit of Kilauea Volcano, almost directly below the Kulanaokuaiki campground within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, at a depth of about 20 miles. According to Wes Thelen, HVO’s seismic network manager: “These earthquakes were most likely structural adjustments of the Earth’s crust due to the weight of the island on the underlying mantle. The earthquake likely occurred on a near-horizontal fault plane in the mantle, which has hosted earthquakes in this region before. Despite their location near Kilauea’s summit, it’s unlikely that the earthquakes were volcanic in nature due to their depth, which is below, and offset from, the volcano’s known magma plumbing system.”
HVO Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua added that the earthquakes had no apparent effect on Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions. “HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summits or rift zones of Kilauea or other Hawaiian volcanoes,” he said.