Sunday, October 15, 2006

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook the Hawaiian islands at 17:07:49 UTC (07:07:49 local time) October 15, 2006. The quake, centered approximately 6 miles southwest of Puak? on the west side of Hawai`i Island (the Big Island), was felt throughout the entire state, causing a statewide power outage.

No tsunami warning was issued as a result of the quake; however, a tsunami measuring around 0.1 meters (four inches) was recorded. There were 50 aftershocks reported after the quake, the strongest being a 5.8 tremor reported at about 17:14 UTC (7:14 a.m. local time).

There were no fatalities reported and only scattered reports of minor injuries.

Electric power was lost statewide shortly after the quake. As of about 8:00 p.m. HST, power was restored to all the neighbor islands, but Hawaiian Electric personnel still had work to go on Oahu, the island with the highest population. Power was eventually restored to most areas of Oahu by midnight.

Structural damage occurred at Kona Hospital, where ceiling tiles fell and electricity was lost, forcing an evacuation of patients to Hilo Medical Center on the other side of the island. Damage was also reported at the Honokaa Long-term Care Facility and the Royal Kona Resort.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who was in Kona at the time of the earthquake, issued an emergency declaration for the entire state of Hawaii at about 11:00 a.m. local time (2300 UTC Sunday).

Air service in Hawaii was temporarily suspended shortly after the quake as airports were forced to operate on emergency power. The power outage caused delays to incoming and outgoing flights, as TSA agents had to conduct manual searches of all bags. Airlines have canceled numerous flights scheduled to depart Honolulu International Airport Sunday evening.

Communication links are problematic. Most radio stations lost power and stopped broadcasting immediately after the quake. (Metroblogging Hawaii) Honolulu radio station KSSK, operating on emergency generators, became a central information source for Oahu residents. A landslide has blocked at least one major highway from a section of a cliff at Kealakekua Bay.

USGS Volcano Observatory equipment has not been significantly damaged. Monitoring stations report “no significant changes in the past 24 hours” of the eruption of the K?lauea volcano.

According to USGS records, this earthquake is the fourth largest Hawaiian earthquake in the last 100 years. Previous earthquakes include a magnitude 7.2 quake in 1975, a magnitude 6.9 quake in 1951, and a magnitude 6.8 quake in 1938. The last magnitude 6.7 quake was in 1983.