Saturday evening’s events brought on major concern for residents in Hawaii. The earthquake that occurred very close to the volcano Kilauea spurred rumors that the volcano may again erupt, being triggered by the 5.2 magnitude earthquake. Though the most major concern is the fact that at the base of the volcano the Lava Lake is rising to record heights, which may soon overflow according to sources, as well as the major concern of tsunamis, residents of Hawaii and national news sources were reporting this weekend on the fear that Kilauea would began destroying nearby land, once again. Though scientists believe that it is certainly possible that there once was a correlation between an earthquake near Kilauea and its eruption of lava, after seeing no change after the earthquake, in the volcano and surrounding volcanoes that make up the Big Island of Hawaii, scientists are claiming that there is no cause for concern.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the event that earthquakes would cause a volcanic eruption is not likely. They state that there are a few examples where earthquakes may have possibly caused a volcanic eruption nearby but that it is “not very often.” In their article, the USGS mentions the 1975 earthquake that could have caused Kilauea to erupt, as an eruption followed shortly after the earthquake occurred, but they claim that Kilauea was already pressurized and that scientists had already believed that it was going to erupt.
Saturday’s earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 hit the city of Volcano in Hawaii. Though earthquakes have been a common experience for residents, lately, as sources state that 94 earthquakes have hit the Island of Hawaii in the past two weeks, the one that occurred on Saturday was said to be one of the largest. Its significance also came at the fact that it was close to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Though much of the fear that struck from the event was of a possible tsunami, one fear that also took hold of residents was the fear that the quake would cause the eruption of one of the volcanoes, possibly Kilauea which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Rising to 9,140 feet above sea level, Kilauea has erupted 61 times in the current cycle, according to data collected from the USGS. The USGS also states that the volcano has been erupting on a continuous basis since the year 1983. As Kilauea has caused recent destruction on the island, it could be that it is just not ready to erupt yet. However, the USGS believes that the reason that the volcano did not erupt after the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that hit on Saturday is because the trigger of a volcanic eruption from an earthquake is rarer than most people think.
In an article about the relationship between earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the USGS assumes that the correlation could possibly be with earthquakes above the magnitude of 6. Since the quake that hit on Saturday near Hawaii volcanoes had a magnitude that was less than that, it is very unlikely that there is cause for concern about a volcanic eruption of Kilauea, stemming from the earthquake. The USGS observes the data of quakes that were larger in size than a magnitude 6, when it comes to triggering a volcanic eruption. This does not necessarily mean that a quake of a smaller magnitude could not possibly trigger a volcanic eruption, as the USGS also observes that the closer the quake is to the volcano the larger the possibility of correlation.
For now however, scientists claim that there is no cause for concern over the earthquake that hit near Hawaii volcanoes, as they do not believe that it will trigger an eruption, any time soon. As a few days have passed since the quake hit it is obvious that fears of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis have died down. However, as previously mentioned 94 quakes have hit in the last two weeks in or near Hawaii so it is certain that there will still be concern. According to statements made by the USGS, everything is fine for now.
By Crystal Boulware
CNN: Earthquake hits city of Volcano in Hawaii
Live Science: Kilauea Volcano: Facts About the 30-Year Eruption
USGS: FAQ About Relationships Between Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions