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Moderate quake hits Big Isle; no tsunami threat

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    A moderate quake struck south of Hilo this morning.

A moderate earthquake struck Hawaii island this morning but did not pose a tsunami threat.

The magnitude 5.3 quake struck at 7:01 a.m., about 27 miles south of Hilo at a depth of 5.3 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake had been initially reported as magnitude 5.1, but later upgraded.

“No tsunami is expected, however, some areas may have experienced shaking,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said there are so far no reports of any major damage or outages. “We’re waiting for final word from a few of our departments. Looks like everything is pretty good. There might be a few rocks on the road that crews are cleaning up.”

The earthquake caused some minor disturbances that include shaking off some ceiling tiles at Target in Hilo and small rocks scattered on roadways in different parts of the island.

No serious injuries were immediately reported.

The USGS’ “Did you feel it?” online survey garnered hundreds of responses from throughout the Big Island and several from Maui and Oahu, hundreds of miles from the epicenter on the south flank of Kilauea volcano.

The scientist in charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Christina Neal, said the earthquake didn’t appear to affect Kilauea’s eruptions.

Marie Onouye, a part owner of the Volcano Store, said she felt a large jolt. She said the temblor didn’t cause anything to fall to the ground and she didn’t see any damage.

The south flank of the Kilauea volcano has had 29 earthquakes measuring magnitude-4 or higher over the last 25 years, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement.

Most have been caused by the settling of lava built up over time and the abrupt movement of the south flank over the earth’s crust as magma pushes into Kilauea’s East Rift Zone.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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