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The earthquake that wasn’t

UPDATE, 4 p.m., Aug. 10:

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247 Contributing Editor

Earthquake mystery solved! The case of the disappearing 4.8 magnitude temblor early Sunday between Kawaihae and Maui is not so mysterious.

Although automated computer systems in Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected and reported the earthquake, there was none.

The instruments picked up on the 7.1 magnitude quake near the Japan’s Izu Islands, and misidentified it as a separate event off Hawaii.

“That was a big, deep earthquake,” said Paul Okubo, HVO scientist, that triggered the local instruments.

The Hawaii computer systems then gave it a location and magnitude for a separate event – and issued the preliminary report.

Once scientists in Colorado were able to review all the data, they realized the Hawaii event was not a separate earthquake and removed it from USGS lists.

A similar situation occurred several weeks ago, Okubo said, when an earthquake in Baja California was also recorded as a separate event in Reno, Nev. It wasn’t until scientists reviewed the data that they were able to scratch the Reno temblor off the records.

Okubo said scientists are constantly reconfiguring computer models to ensure the best, most accurate information is disseminated to the public.

“I hope you would agree, it works pretty well,” he said. “But the bottom line is, somebody need to look at the data.”

UPDATE, 3:10 p.m., Aug. 9: Oddly, the earthquake is no longer listed on official Web sites. Hawaii247 is now on the case of the disappearing earthquake … Anyone got any theories before we get an explantion Monday morning from the USGS scientists?

A light earthquake occurred at 1:05:15 AM (HST) on Sunday, August 9, 2009 .

The magnitude 4.8 event occurred 63 km (39 miles) NW of Kailua .
The hypocentral depth is 119 km (74 miles).

If you felt this earthquake you can report it to the USGS so they can gather data on this event here:…

More information on this earthquake at the USGS website:…

One Response to “The earthquake that wasn’t”

  1. Guy Williams says:

    What happened to the data of this event on the USGS website?


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