Animation of recent quakes around Hawaii Island April 21 to May 13, 2018. Animation courtesy of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

On May 4, 2018, the largest earthquake in 43 years struck Hawaiʻi with a moment magnitude of 6.9 in the Kalapana region of the Island of Hawaiʻi (the “Big Island”). This animation puts that earthquake in historic context by comparing its magnitude with those of other earthquakes that have struck these islands in the last 150 years.

The moment magnitude number is proportional to an earthquake’s total energy release such that each whole number increase in magnitude represents about a 32-fold increase in energy release. For example, a magnitude 7 earthquake releases about 32 times as much energy as a magnitude 6 earthquake. Therefore in this animation, the circle for a magnitude 7 earthquake has about 32 times the area of a magnitude 6 earthquake. Each circle is also labeled to show its magnitude, its location, and the year it happened. The animation reveals that three earthquakes are known to have been larger—that is, have released even more energy—than 2018 Kalapana earthquake. The animation concludes with a map showing where each of these earthquakes happened in HawaiÊ»i.

Red Cross safety tips:


 Protecting your family

  • Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do in case of an earthquake. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children.
  • Check at your workplace and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans.
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON in each safe place.
  • Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts:
  • Find an online NOAA radio station
  • Search for a NOAA radio app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store
  • Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA radio in the Red Cross Store
  • Keep a flashlight and any low-heeled shoes by each person’s bed.

Protecting your home

  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
  • Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
  • Place large and heavy objects and breakable items (bottled foods, glass or china) on lower shelves.
  • Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to joists.
  • Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
  • Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
  • Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
  • Have a professional make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation, as well as strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.

Protecting your Pets

  • If it’s not safe for you to stay in your home during an emergency, it’s not safe for them either!
  • Get a crate large enough for your pet to stand and turn around.  Include supplies for your pet in your emergency kit, or assemble an emergency kit for your pet and keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers so that they can be carried easily.  Your kit should include:
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener if you pet eats canned food.
  • Medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. Since many pets look alike, this will help to eliminate mistaken identity and confusion.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
  • Make an evacuation plan for you and your pets. Many hotels and shelters do not accept animal guests, other than service animals.

Staying Safe Indoors

  • DROP, COVER and HOLD ON! Move as little as possible – most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around, falling and suffering sprains, fractures and head injuries.
  • Try to protect your head and torso.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, and cover your head.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
  • If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • Be aware that smoke alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
  • If you smell gas, get out of the house and move as far away as possible.
  • Before you leave any building check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.

Staying Safe Outdoors

  • Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.
  • Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris as well as landslides.

Download Free Red Cross Emergency App

  • Step by Step instructions and instant life-saving information on what to do before, during, and after disasters including hurricanes, earthquake, and flooding, first aid.
  • Includes toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light, and audible alarm, checklists, one-touch “I’m safe” button that allows you to broadcast to family and friends on social media
  • Shelter finder tells you which shelters are open
  • First Aid – step by step lifesaving instructions, diagrams, and videos on what to do for 20 emergencies like heart attack, stroke, bleeding, choking, head injuries, burns, broken bones,
  • Pet First Aid – expert vet advice on 25 of most common pet emergencies, including car accidents, choking, drowning, mouth to snout resuscitation, dehydration, poisoning, how to remove the stinger from bee sting.  What dogs are allergic to and what signs to look for and what to do if you think they ate chocolate, fertilizer, medication, alcohol.  How to give medication, travel tips, GPS enabled guide to locate nearest emergency vet hospital or pet-friendly hotels.  Videos, step-by-step instructions.
  • Download at or Apple or Google Playstore.

RSS Weather Alerts

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