From temblor: “M=5.3 earthquake shakes Hawaii’s Big Island”



June 8, 2017
David Jacobson

Today’s M=5.3 earthquake on Hawaii’s Big Island occurred near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (Picture from: USGS)

At just past 7 a.m. local time today, a M=5.3 earthquake shook the Big Island of Hawaii. According to the USGS, very strong shaking was felt close to the epicenter, while in the capital city of Hilo 44 km to the north, light shaking was recorded by seismometers. At 11 a.m. this morning, 8 a.m. in Hawaii, over 700 people had reported feeling the quake, which is unlikely to cause damage due to the moderate magnitude and the fact that the epicenter was not close to populated centers. The area in which today’s quake occurred is dominated by active volcanism in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

This Temblor map shows the location of today’s M=5.3 earthquake on the Big Island of Hawaii. What is also evident from this figure is that the Big Island is highly seismically active. Some of these quakes are volcanic earthquakes, while others are more traditional quakes.

While most people imagine spectacular lava flows and Kilauea when they think of the Big Island of Hawaii, it is also a seismically active area. The majority of these earthquakes are “volcanic earthquakes,” meaning they are associated with magma moving beneath the surface. These quakes are often too small to be felt, but are picked up by local seismometers.

In addition to these “volcanic earthquakes,” more traditional earthquakes also occur around the Big Island. These are caused as the immense weight of the Big Island causes the entire island to subside. In turn, normal (extensional) faulting results. Based on the location and magnitude of today’s earthquake, one of these normal faults is the likely culprit.

Even though today’s quake was only moderate in size and there have been no reports of damage, the Big Island can and has experienced large magnitude quakes. In both 1975 and 1868, there were M=7.2 and M=7.9 earthquakes in similar locations to today’s earthquake. Both of these events caused damage and triggered local tsunamis up to 15 m high. A tsunami inundation map for Hawaii is shown in the figure below. What this shows is that, it is not just volcanic eruptions that Hawaiians have to be wary of.

This Temblor map shows faults, earthquakes, and a tsunami inundation map for the Big Island of Hawaii.

Based on the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model, today’s M=5.3 earthquake should not be considered surprising. This model uses global strain rates and historical seismicity since 1977 to forecast the likely earthquake magnitude in your lifetime anywhere on earth. From the Temblor figure below, you can see that nearly the entire Big Island, is susceptible to experiencing a M=5.5+ earthquake in your lifetime.

This Temblor map shows the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model for the Hawaiian Islands. This model uses global strain rates and seismicity since 1977 to forecast the likely earthquake magnitude in your lifetime anywhere on earth. What can be seen from this figure is that in the location of today’s M=5.3 earthquake, a M=5.5+ quake is likely. Therefore, today’s shock should not be considered a surprise.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
University of Hawaii

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

You can help many citizen scientists in detecting earthquakes and getting the data to emergency services people in affected area.
QCN bloc

Quake-Catcher Network

The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).


BOINC WallPaper

The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
QCN Quake Catcher Network map