Maui News

Two 3+ magnitude Hawaiʻi Island earthquakes Friday night are likely not related

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A magnitude-3.6 earthquake was reported at 9:21 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 on Hawai’i Island. PC: USGS

Two 3+ magnitude earthquakes on Hawaiʻi island that occurred within a minute of each other on Friday night are not likely related to one another, according to scientists with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The first earthquake was reported at 9:21 p.m. on Dec. 8, about 2 miles west-southwest of Hōlualoa at a depth of 8 miles below sea level. An HVO information statement indicates that the 3.6 magnitude quake had no apparent impact on Hualālai, Mauna Loa or Kīlauea volcanoes.

Approximately 1 minute later, a magnitude-3.4 earthquake occurred on the east side of the Island of Hawaiʻi, 12 miles north of Pāhala at a depth of 4 miles.


The HVO reports that this second earthquake was likely not related to the one near Hōlualoa as “it occurred in a different structural section of the island.” According to the HVO, it too had no apparent impact on any of the nearby volcanoes.

The USGS “Did You Feel It?” website recorded over 120 felt reports within the first half hour of the first earthquake.

HVO scientists say aftershocks are possible in the coming days to weeks. There were no tsunami information statements generated from these two events.


This comes following a 4.4 magnitude earthquake reported on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 5:17 p.m. in the Summit Region of the Kīlauea Volcano on Hawaiʻi Island; and a 5.1 magnitude earthquake reported at 5:54 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, in the Hilina Region of the Kīlauea Volcano. 

Wednesday’s earthquake was  attributed to “flexing of the oceanic crust buried deep below the island.” Monday’s earthquake was related to “shallow movement on the pali system of Kīlauea volcano’s south flank and is not directly related to volcanic activity,” according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Monday’s quake also had a magnitude 3 aftershock.

The HVO continues to monitor Hawaiʻi’s 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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