Magnitude 5.7 earthquake shakes Hawaii; no tsunami threat expected

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A magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook a remote part of Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday.

No tsunami is expected, the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. An earlier estimate calculated the earthquake as magnitude 6.3. It was felt as far away as Honolulu, more than 200 miles away, reports said.

At least 10 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 and higher had been recorded within an hour and a half of the initial
temblor, about one every 10 minutes.

The earthquake, which occurred on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa — the largest active volcano on the planet — had no apparent impact on it nor the neighboring Kilauea volcano, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. “Numerous aftershocks have been felt and are expected to continue.”

The earthquake, which occurred at 10:06 a.m. Hawaii time, produced “very strong” shaking in the town of Pahala, with a population of 1,900 on the southern side of the island, as defined by the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. Very strong shaking can cause considerable damage in poorly built structures.

The earthquake, and several aftershocks since, were evident across Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, said Jessica Ferracane, a spokesperson for the park. The Kilauea visitors center at the park is about 23 miles from the epicenter and received light shaking, defined as just enough to rattle dishes and windows. It can feel like a vehicle striking a building.

“It was definitely a good violent shake,” she said. The “visitor contact station shook really, really hard, but so far no reports of damage.”

She said teams are still assessing the massive park — over 300,000 acres — but no issues have been reported yet.

“We have a lot of the old wooden plantations homes and so they were rattling pretty loudly,” Julia Neal, the owner of Pahala Plantation Cottages, told The Associated Press.

Light shaking was also felt in Hilo, the island’s largest town, and Kailua-Kona, home to many of the island’s resorts on its western coast. Both towns are about 45 miles from the epicenter.

George Baranov was at his gym in Kailua-Kona on the west coast of the Big Island when he felt what he thought was someone dropping a bunch of heavy weights.

“I felt the floor shake pretty hard,” the 26-year-old said. He said he didn’t realize it was an earthquake until talking to someone later.

Most people felt the quake, he said, but he hadn’t seen any damage so far, adding nonchalantly: “It happens a lot here.”

The epicenter was about 135 miles southeast of Kahului, the largest town on Maui, and about 215 miles from Honolulu.

The earthquake was quite deep, occurring 23 miles below the sea level.

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