Earthquake "swarm" hits the Big Island

Published: Feb. 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM HST
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BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) says it recorded an earthquake swarm that began around 1:17 a.m. on Wednesday.

The earthquakes are located about three miles north-northwest of Kilauea volcano's summit, near Namakanipaio in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.   The seismic swarm has included more than 60 earthquakes, 14 of which were greater than magnitude-2.  The largest was a 3.2 earthquake at 6:55 a.m.

The earthquakes are located along the Ka'oiki Pali, a southeast-dipping normal fault near the boundary between Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes.  This area has experienced episodic seismic activity since the 6.6 Ka'oiki earthquake in 1983.   Previous earthquake swarms have occurred along the Ka'oiki seismic zone in 1990, 1993, 1997, and, most recently, in February-March 2006.  These swarms lasted anywhere from 1 day to several weeks, rarely exceeding magnitude-4.

Seismic swarms in the Ka'oiki area have sometimes resulted in changes in Kilauea's ongoing east rift zone eruption, but so far HVO monitoring networks have not detected any apparent changes in Kilauea's summit or on Mauna Loa from today's swarm.

For more information on recent earthquakes in Hawai'i and eruption updates, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

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