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|The largest swarm of earthquakes ever recorded on ANY Hawaiian volcano recently occurred at Loihi seamount. It began on 17 July 1996, and to date, a total of over 4000 earthquakes have been recorded by the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) network, with more than 40 earthquakes between magnitude 4 and 5 recorded by the World Wide seismic network.|
Activity apparently moved up the south rift during the first day or two to the southern summit region, which is the oval-shapped region colored in light blue and pink hues in the image on the main Loihi web page. This summit platform area is at 1200 to 960 m below sea level.
Here is a map showing Recent Hawaiian Earthquakes as of 31 Aug 1996, including those at Loihi (color-coded by date of earthquake).
Because the HVO seismic network is too far from Loihi to detect harmonic tremor (which is associated with the movement of magma), we were unsure about the cause of this earthquake swarm: it could be tectonic or volcanic. An expedition was organized to investigate things further, given our poor constraint on the cause of these unprecedented events:
Some hypothesized possible causes for this unprecedented earthquake swarm are:
Please see the other Loihi pages for post-expedition results and how they bear on the hypotheses above
UH Scientists Fred Duennebier, Mike Garcia and Ken Rubin provided information used on this WWW document.
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This page created and maintained by Ken Rubin,© email@example.com
Last page update on 18 Sept. 1996