Hawaii underwater volcano earthquake shakes Big Island
An earthquake on an active deep-water volcano off the coast of Hawaii shook the Big Island but did not appear to impact other nearby volcanoes and no significant damage was reported.
The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the 4.0 magnitude quake on Wednesday evening was located below Loihi Seamount, about 20 miles southwest of the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. It occurred at a depth of 7 miles (11 km).
USGS officials said moderate shaking could be felt across the Big Island, but at this intensity, no significant damage was expected. The earthquake did not generate a tsunami and had no apparent effect on the neighboring volcanoes of Kilauea or Mauna Loa.
“We are not seeing any detectable change in activity at the peaks or along the Loihi, Kilauea or Mauna Loa fault zones as a result of this earthquake,” said Ken Hon, chief scientist at the Observatory of USGS Hawaiian volcanoes. “Aftershocks are possible and could be felt. “
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth. Both are located on the Big Island.
Loihi is an active volcano with a summit approximately 3,200 feet (975 meters) below the surface of the Pacific. The summit area has three craters, and scientists believe it has a shallow magma chamber just below the surface.
An eruption of the rarely visited volcano has never been observed, but researchers believe Loihi has explosive and effusive eruptive events.
Earthquakes have been recorded in Loihi for decades. In the summer of 1996, there were over 4,000 earthquakes at the seamount, of which 300 were greater than magnitude 3.0 and 95 greater than 4.0.
Last year, the USGS reported more than 100 earthquakes in Loihi in mid-May. The seismic activity could have represented a brief eruption or the movement of magma inside the volcano, officials said.
There are no monitoring instruments on the deep-water volcano and measurements are taken from stations on the Big Island.
Loihi is likely to one day break the surface of the ocean and become a new island. Scientists can’t predict how long it would take because it depends on the rate of eruption, but they say it could happen in around 200,000 years.
Seamounts are active or dormant volcanoes that rise from the ocean floor. They are hot spots for marine life as they carry nutrient-rich water upward from the seabed.
Seamounts are believed to cover approximately 18 million square miles of the planet.
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