HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook parts of the Big Island Saturday but there are no reports of any damage or injuries.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake occurred at 10:10 p.m. Wes Thielen, seismic network manager at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the quake was centered about 7.1 miles south-southeast of the summit of Kilauea at a depth of about 5.3 miles.
The USGS "Did you feel it?" Web site received more than 740 reports within an hour of the quake, which was felt across the Big Island, as well as parts of Maui, Lanai and Oahu. Several callers to the HNN newsroom described it as one of the strongest quakes they have felt in some time.
Initial estimates first had the quake at magnitude 4.8, then 5.0. According to the USGS, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake is two and-a-half times bigger and nearly four times stronger than a 4.8 quake in terms of energy released.
Five aftershocks were recorded within the first hour after the earthquake, including a magnitude 3.1 quake at 10:54 p.m. in the same area. Geologists said more aftershocks can be expected, including some that might be felt.
Over the last 20 years, eight earthquakes with magnitudes of 4 or greater, including three with magnitudes 5 or greater, have occurred in the same area and at the same depth. HVO geologists said the quakes are thought to be caused by southward movement of Kilauea's south flank in response to magma pressure within Kilauea's East Rift Zone.
HVO Scientist-in-Charge Tina Neal said the earthquakes had no apparent effect on the ongoing eruptions at Kilauea.
"HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summits or rift zones of Kilauea or other Hawaiian volcanoes," she said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no tsunami was generated by the earthquake.