On Sunday, Oahu was struck with an unusual magnitude 3.5 tremor which occurred 15 miles south of Honolulu. A series of 14 other moderate earthquakes have been felt on the Big Island in the past week.
Oahu’s last earthquake was nearly ten years ago (2002 – 3.9 magnitude), and the prior one was thirty years ago (1980 – 4.0 magnitude).
Earthquakes and Volcanoes.
Hawaii earthquakes are linked primarily to volcanic activity. They represent an aspect of the island-building processes that have shaped the geology. “All earthquakes in Hawaii ultimately result from the underlying processes that build the volcanoes.” This according to Hawaii’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Eruptions and magma movement within the active volcanoes are typically accompanied by numerous small earthquakes.
Thousands of earthquakes occur annually beneath the Big Island, and earthquakes there have been reported for hundreds of years both in concert with volcanic activity and without. Here is a USGS map of recent earthquakes, and a Google Maps version.
Historic Hawaii Earthquakes.
Tsunamis in Hawaii.
Another earthquake effect felt here in Hawaii is tsunamis. These were first reported in the early 1800′s. Most have originated either in the northwest Pacific or near the coast of South America. Tsunamis result in more lives lost than the total of all other local disasters here.
Earlier this year, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake again struck near Chile, which resulted in a tsunami warning here in Hawaii.
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Photo credit: USGS.