Honolulu, May 4: The US Geological Survey reports a 5.0-magnitude earthquake has struck Hawaii's Big Island. The temblor on Friday is the latest and largest in a series of hundreds of small earthquakes to shake the island's active volcano, Kilauea, since the Puu Oo vent crater floor collapsed and caused magma to rush into new underground chambers. Scientists say a new eruption in the region is possible.
The quake was centred about 6.9 kilometres deep on the south flank of Kilauea. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says the earthquake was not strong enough to trigger a tsunami. Earthquakes in the region have been happening consistently since the Puu Oo crater collapsed on Monday.
"It appears that ground shaking from the earthquake caused rockfalls in the Puu Oo crater on Kilauea Volcano's East Rift Zone, which resulted in a short-lived plume of reddish ash rising above the cone," said Tina Neal, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's chief scientist in a statement. Hawaii County officials reported Wednesday that a road in the Big Island's Puna District was closed after it was damaged by earlier quakes.