Categorized | Earthquake, Education, News

Volcano Watch: First “official” Great Hawaii ShakeOut is a success

(Volcano Watch is a weekly article written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.)


On October 17, at 10:17 a.m., HST, thousands of Hawai‘i residents took part in the state’s first Great Hawaii ShakeOut. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory thanks everyone who practiced “Drop! Cover! Hold on!” Those people joined over 19.5 million people worldwide who also took part in the annual earthquake drill.

If you—as an individual, family, business, school, or other group—took action to prepare for Hawai‘i’s next large earthquake, please tell us about it at “Share your ShakeOut” ( You can write about your experience, post photos, or both.

Hawai‘i is subject to many kinds of natural hazards, with earthquakes being among them. Large earthquakes typically occur on and around the island of Hawai‘i, but historically, they have also occurred around Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i, with damage extending as far as O‘ahu. The probability of a destructive magnitude-6.5 or higher earthquake striking the Hawaiian Islands in the next 10 years is 50 percent.

Originating in 2008, the first drill was known as the “Great Southern California ShakeOut.” The main goal of the drill then, as it is now, was to practice the “Drop! Cover! Hold On!” ( The drill has since expanded in size, with participants across the globe.

Benefits of taking part in the Great Hawaii ShakeOut include becoming more aware of the earthquake hazards along the Hawaiian chain and having an opportunity to think about and practice what you will do during the next large earthquake.

The 15,000 registered participants in the first annual Great Hawaii ShakeOut were from Hawai‘i, Maui and Honolulu counties and included a number of schools. Waimea Middle School, the only organization in Hawai‘i to participate in the national earthquake drill last year, participated again this year to keep their skills and safety protocols honed. Students at Holualoa Elementary School in West Hawai‘i—first-time ShakeOut participants–created a catchy rap to help fellow classmates learn what to do in an earthquake. As a result, when their earthquake drill took place, everyone was prepared, and it was a rousing success.

If you missed the October 17th earthquake drill, you can still take steps to minimize your risk of injury during the next Hawaiian earthquake. Go to the Great Hawaii ShakeOut website for helpful information, such as “Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions in Hawaii” (

Given that this year was our first “official” Great Hawaii ShakeOut, participation in the earthquake awareness and preparedness drill far exceeded our expectations and underscores the desire of Hawai‘i residents to be prepared for natural disasters. We hope in future years to build on this success by educating and informing even more people on the hazards that earthquakes pose to the Hawaiian Islands.

Information on the Great Hawaii ShakeOut website (, as well as the organization of the event, was accomplished by a consortium, including the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii County and State Civil Defense agencies, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (Department of Geology and the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes), NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and the American Red Cross.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS Weather Alerts

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.