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2 dozen quakes shake Big Island in Kalapana area

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    The east rift zone eruption is currently in a hiatus. The east and west Kamoamoa fissures are still fuming, but no lava is erupting. Fumes from Puu Oo, shown here, have diminished enough to reveal a portion of the rubble-filled crater floor.

The Big Island had more than 20 small earthquakes on Thursday and another two on Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The activity was related to Kilauea Volcano, which seems to be otherwise taking a breather.

There was no active lava visible yesterday at Kilauea, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported on its website.

On the east rift zone, the March 5 Kamoamoa fissure eruption remained paused, the observatory said. At the summit, the bottom of the deep vent set within the east wall of Halemaumau Crater was covered with rubble and lava was no longer visible.

A gas plume at the summit was moving to the southwest, and sulfur dioxide emissions remained high, the observatory said.

According to the USGS, there were 22 earthquakes near the Big Island on Thursday, most of them in the Kalapana area. There were five that registered magnitude 3.0 or above, the largest at magnitude 4.6, which occurred at 10:58 p.m.

Quakes of magnitude 3.0 and 2.6 hit on Friday.

All were seven to 17 miles south or southwest of Leilani Estates.

The USGS said the cluster was not related to Japan’s quake or the tsunami.

Most earthquakes in the Kalapana area and along the lower south flank of Kilauea Volcano are caused by motion of the volcano’s south flank southeast over the ocean floor as a result of magma injected into the rift zone, scientists say.


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