Earthquake Shakes Hawaii on Sunday

hawaii shake map
A shake map of Hawaii's magnitude-4.8 earthquake on Aug. 11, 2013. (Image credit: USGS)

A deep magnitude-4.8 earthquake rattled Hawaii on Sunday (Aug. 11). The earthquake struck 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Kilauea volcano's summit at 5:54 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (11:54 a.m. EST). Several aftershocks followed, the largest of which was a magnitude 3.4. Residents of Hawaii and Maui reported feeling weak to light shaking on the U.S. Geological Survey's "Did You Feel It?" online survey form.

Geologists at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) said magma moving beneath Hawaii's active volcanoes did not cause yesterday's earthquake, according to a press release from the observatory. Kilauea's volcanic plumbing is below and offset from the earthquake's location, Wes Thelen, HVO's seismic network manager, said in the statement. The temblor hit about 20 miles (32 km) below the surface, directly beneath Kulanaokuaiki campground within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Instead, a nearly horizontal fault was the source of the quake, Thelen said. The fault, which has triggered earthquakes before, is a result of the island's massive weight compressing Earth's crust and mantle, the HVO said.

Read more: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Editor's note: This story was updated Aug. 12 to correct the earthquake's size.

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Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.