Earthquake hits world’s biggest active volcano with aftershocks continuing to be felt

An earthquake has struck the largest active volcano on the planet, Volcano Mauna Loa, which covers half of the island of Hawaii.

There was no major damage reported, however scientists have said there is a “state of heightened unrest” due to the tremors that came after the 4.6-magnitude quake hit, which preceded a 5.0-magnitude earthquake just seconds later.

The earthquake hit the island on Friday October 14, in the morning, and was centred south of Pahala, which is situated southeast of the volcano.

The Hawaiian Volacano Observatory said: “Shaking from the larger earthquakes may have been strong enough to do minor local damage, especially to older buildings.

“The two earthquakes occurred within 24 seconds of each other, creating shaking of a longer duration and possibly greater intensity than either of the earthquakes would have created on their own.”

The aftershocks are still being felt, with scientists predicting that they could last for weeks.

Experts are currently monitoring increasing activity of earthquakes, with the frequency of quakes going from five to 10 earthquakes a day in June 2022, to 40 to 50 earthquakes a day over the past two weeks, according to the US Geological Survey.

The number recently hit its peak, with more than 100 earthquakes a day recorded on September 23 and September 29.

The heightened number of quakes has led to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park deciding to close the Mauna Loa summit backcountry, until further notice.

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth reported that there had been minor damage in the town of Pahala, aside from that, there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

The only shop in Pahala, Mizuno Superette, closed for about an hour-and-a-half. The shaking left left broken goods on the floor and cut off the electricity.

Cashier Laurie Tackett said: “The ground was just shaking, it was a little scary.”

Another employee, Duane Santiago, said: “I heard the earthquake coming, and then all of a sudden everything started shaking, so I had to hold on. I had to hold the walls.”

Further damage occurred at Herkes Gym, with part of the ceiling collapsing. Rocks fell onto the highway 11 road.

Talmadge Magno, administrator of Hawaii County Civil Defense said: “It shook pretty well to the point that we’re finding that there is damage, you know, minor damage at this point to public facilities as well as private facilities.

Experts have confirmed that Mauna Loa is not erupting and there are no signs of an imminent eruption.

The observatory said: “This sequence of earthquakes appears to be related to readjustments along the south-east flank of Mauna Loa volcano.

“On several occasions large earthquakes have preceded past eruptions of Mauna Loa, though these have typically been larger than today’s earthquakes.

“It is not known at this time if this sequence of earthquakes is directly related to the ongoing unrest on Mauna Loa.”