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Small quake strikes off Oahu; no tsunami generated

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:53 p.m. HST, Feb 24, 2011

A small earthquake off East Oahu shook residents around the island this afternoon but did not cause a tsunami. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the 3.6-magnitude quake hit at 2:12 p.m. After initial confusion over the exact location, the USGS said it was centered 11.8 miles deep, 22 miles east-southeast of Honolulu and 34 miles west of Kaunakakai.

It was originally reported by the USGS as a 3.3 magnitude quake centered about 80 miles southeast of Honolulu at a depth of 4.2 miles at 2:12 p.m., but the USGS later revised its report.

Victor Sardina, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said the initial report was inaccurate, possibly because of the scarcity of seismic recording instruments on Oahu.

Scientists don't know what caused the quake, but say it may have been set off by the ocean floor flexing under the island's weight.

The warning center reported receiving calls from people in Hawaii Kai, Kailua, and Honolulu. Residents from East Oahu to Manoa reported their homes rattling for several seconds.

People reported feeling the shaking 40 miles away at Schofield Barracks, and 161 miles away in Kula, Maui, according to the USGS.

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