(BIVN) – An earthquake measured by the USGS at a preliminary Magnitude 4.4 struck the summit of Kilauea on Wednesday morning.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that the earthquake was NOT large enough to cause a tsunami for the Island of Hawaii. “There is NO tsunami threat for the island of Hawaii,” Hawaii County Civil Defense reported.
According to emergency officials, preliminary data indicated that the earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 4.2 and was centered in the summit region of Kilauea. The magnitude is likely to be revised as geologists take a closer look.
“As in all earthquakes, be aware of the possibility of after shocks,” civil defense said. “If the earthquake was strongly felt in your area, precautionary checks should be made for any damages; especially to utility connections of gas, water and electricity.”
The earthquake could be a part of the ongoing seismicity and deformation at the Kilauea summit. “Deflation is ongoing,” USGS reported this morning. “Several strongly felt earthquakes have occurred over the past day, likely caused by ongoing deflation of the summit area. These are expected to continue.”
From the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at 8:52 a.m. HST:
Yesterday, ash emissions from the Overlook vent inside Halemaumau varied greatly in intensity with abrupt increases likely associated with large rockfalls deep into the vent. A number of these periods of increased ash emission sent plumes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level, with the cloud drifting downwind and dusting communities from Pahala to Discovery Harbor with ash. Yesterday’s ash clouds were visible from many vantage points in east Hawaii. Because of the increase in ash emission and higher altitudes of ash, HVO assigned an aviation color code RED to indicated significant ash emission that is a hazard to aircraft. We are remaining at RED this morning anticipating further ash events which may continue for the foreseeable future. Communities downwind should expect intermittent ashfall.
This morning dense ballistic blocks up to 60 cm (2 feet) across were found in the parking lot a few hundred yards from Halemaumau. These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity. Further observations are necessary to asses this interpretation. Additional such explosions are expected and could be more powerful.