POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 24, 2010
Two small earthquakes struck within 20 minutes and 50 miles of each other last night off the coast of Maui, shaking residents as far away as Kapolei.
No damage was reported, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the first quake had a magnitude of 4.7 and occurred at 6:34 p.m., 11 miles beneath the earth's crust. The second quake struck at 6:51 p.m., about 50 miles southwest of the first, and had a magnitude of 3.3. It was 16 miles deep.
Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said the first temblor was beneath Kahoolawe and too small to generate a tsunami.
"It was felt widely on Maui, and apparently a few people on Oahu have felt it," Fryer said. "We've had a couple of reports from Wailuku and Maalaea, people saying, 'Hey, it really shook.'"
The second quake occurred in the channel between Maui and the Big Island, Fryer said.
"This is unusual," he said, adding that a quake farther up the island chain occurs about once a year or every few years.
"I think what's happening is the earth's crust is creaking and growing under the Hawaiian Islands," he said. "The creaking is the earthquake."
People reported feeling the first quake last night as far away as Kapolei on Oahu and Kurtistown on the Big Island, both more than 110 miles from the epicenter, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website.
The first quake was centered 30 miles south-southwest of Wailuku and 95 miles southeast of Honolulu, while the second was 140 miles southeast of Honolulu and 16 miles west-southwest of Hawi on the northern tip of the Big Island, the USGS said.
Maui police recruit Darren Dobashi, who was working in the Wailuku cellblock last night, said the shaking from the first temblor lasted about four to five seconds.
"It was small," he said.