Maui News

No tsunami expected after 4.5 earthquake in Waikoloa on Hawaiʻi Island

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Hawaiʻi Island earthquake 3.20.22. PC: USGS

There is no tsunami expected following a 4.5 (4.4 preliminary magnitude) earthquake reported at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, 2022 in the Waikoloa region of Hawaiʻi Island.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports that, “No tsunami is expected… however some areas may may have experienced shaking.

The USGS reports that the quake was located 13 miles from Waimea and occurred at a depth of 23.4 km. The distance and direction from the epicenter to nearby locations includes the following:

  1. Waimea, Hawaiʻi, 13.3 mi NNW
  2. Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi, 31.9 mi WSW
  3. Hilo, Hawaiʻi, 32.2 mi ESE
  4. Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiʻi, 42.8 mi ESE
  5. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, 178.9 mi NW

There were over 200 felt responses on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website within the first 40 minutes from individuals who felt the quake. The greatest amount of responses came from Kamuela, Waikoloa and Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island.

The quake was also felt in Kula, Haʻikū, Makawao, Kahului and Wailuku on Maui, according to USGS data.

The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that the region surrounding Mauna Kea’s summit has persistent deep earthquake activity. Scientists estimate that the area has more than 30 small earthquakes located at depths greater than 20 km every year.


According to the HVO, the northwest flank of Mauna Kea has experienced nine earthquakes greater than magnitude-4.0 within the past 60 years. “Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by the structural adjustment of the Earth’s crust due to the heavy load of Mauna Kea,” according to the HVO.

Scientists say Mauna Kea is a shield volcano in the post-shield stage, and last erupted about 4,600 years ago. 

HVO acting Scientist-in-Charge David Phillips said, “This earthquake was widely felt across the Island of Hawai‘i and throughout the state. Please be aware that aftershocks are possible and may be felt. This earthquake is not related to volcanic activity and HVO data streams show no impact on Mauna Loa or Kīlauea at this time. The eruption of Kīlauea continues, with all recent activity confined to the summit within Halema’uma’u crater and with no indications of activity migrating elsewhere. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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