Multiple Earthquakes Shake California and Hawaii
Residents across the western United States experienced a shaky end to the week as several earthquakes rattled southern California and Hawaii’s Big Island.
According to local news reports, none of the earthquakes that occurred on Friday afternoon caused significant damage. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) also confirmed that there was no risk of tsunamis resulting from the seismic activity.
In Hawaii, the first and most powerful earthquake of the day struck the southern tip of the Big Island late Friday morning. Centered approximately 70 km southwest of Hilo, the quake measured 5.7 on the Richter scale, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The tremors were felt as far away as Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu, a few hundred kilometers northwest of the epicenter.
Although this earthquake was the strongest, it was part of a series of nearly 20 quakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or higher recorded over the past week. The USGS attributed the cause of the 5.7M earthquake to “lithospheric flexure,” indicating that the weight of the young Hawaiian Islands likely caused the oceanic crust to bend and crack.
Despite the significant shaking, there were no reports of major damage across Hawaii. However, the USGS warns of a 98 percent chance of an aftershock measuring 3.0M or greater occurring in the next week.
Several hours later and thousands of kilometers east, residents across southern California experienced a series of smaller tremors. These earthquakes struck approximately 10 km west of Malibu, with the largest registering a magnitude of 4.7, followed by several smaller aftershocks. Data from the USGS indicates that more than 30 small earthquakes occurred in the area over the past day, with 17 of them measuring 2.0M or higher.
While the 4.7M earthquake was noticeable, it did not cause any significant damage across the region.
The earthquakes on Friday occurred in two of the most geologically active regions on Earth. California lies along the boundary of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, where frequent and sometimes intense earthquakes occur due to the plates sliding past each other. Meanwhile, Hawaii is a volcanic island chain situated in the middle of the Pacific tectonic plate, prone to frequent earthquakes as magma moves beneath the Earth’s crust, particularly around the highly active Kilauea volcano.
Overall, while the earthquakes may have caused some alarm, they serve as reminders of the dynamic geological activity in these regions.