Earthquakes rock Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano during unrest, causing minor damage
An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale hit Earth’s largest active volcano on Friday.
The US Geological Survey said two moderate earthquakes occurred under the southern tip of the island of Hawaii at 9:07 a.m. local time.
A 4.6-magnitude earthquake occurred offshore and south of Pahala, and a 5.0 earthquake struck 24 seconds later down Highway 11.
The seismic events were followed by a series of aftershocks.
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While most were less than 3.0 size, the largest reached 4.0 size.
The aftershocks can last for several days to weeks and be large enough to be felt, the USGS said.
A nearly deserted beach is seen at the edge of the ancient Mauna Loa lava flow on December 16, 2016, in this aerial image taken along the Kona Kohala Coast, Hawaii. (George Rose/Getty Images)
The two largest earthquakes were reported by hundreds of people from the island and were felt throughout the entire state.
She said the vibration may have been strong enough to cause minor local damage, especially in older buildings.
“The two earthquakes occurred within 24 seconds of each other, causing shaking of longer duration and possibly greater intensity than either quake could have done alone,” the USGS said.
Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries, but that there was some minor damage in Pahala.
Backcountry at the summit of Mauna Loa is closed until further notice as a precaution. (NPS Photo/A.Lavalle)
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Mizuno Superette, the only grocery store in the Pāhala countryside, closed for about an hour and a half after the shaking left broken jars on the ground and power outages.
“The ground was just shaking,” treasurer Laurie Tackett told the Associated Press. “It was a little scary.”
The seismic sequence appears to be related to the alterations along the southeast side of Mauna Loa.
A deserted beach is seen at the edge of the ancient Mauna Loa lava flow on December 16, 2016, in this aerial photo taken along the Kona Kohala Coast, Hawaii. (George Rose/Getty Images)
There was no immediate impact on the previously reported disruptions below the top, which remains high at levels similar to last week.
Although large earthquakes have preceded previous Mauna Loa eruptions, they were usually larger than Friday’s earthquakes.
It is not known if this sequence of earthquakes is directly related to the persistent disturbances.
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The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said it will continue to monitor Mauna Loa closely for any changes.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat in Hawaii.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Julia Mosto is a reporter for Fox News and Fox Business Digital.
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