Magnitude-4.5 Earthquake Rattles Hawaii

The earthquake struck at 2:18 a.m. Saturday night, on the big island of Hawaii. Residents were rattled, but no injuries were reported.

The Daily Mail reports the epicenter was roughly six miles north of the small town of Naalehu and six miles underground. The earthquake caused light shaking (intensity level 4) across the big island of Hawaii, and 70 people issued reports saying they “felt it,” according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Geologists explained the cause in a press release.

“The depth, location, and recorded seismic waves of today’s earthquake suggest a source on the large fault plane between the old ocean floor and overlying volcanic crust, a common source for earthquakes in this area.”

No volcano was affected in the quake. Small aftershocks occurred up to two hours afterwards.

Overall, the earthquake was fairly standard for Hawaii, but with the large quake in Nepal and smaller events throughout the U.S., people are starting to wonder if seismic activity is on the rise, yet 2015 seems quiet in comparison to last year.

A new study has found that the first quarter of 2014 had more than twice as many large earthquakes compared to the historical average. The study’s author described it as “one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” according to LiveScience.

The researchers tested the theory that earthquakes would naturally trigger other seismic events. With 2015 becoming the year of the earthquake, they felt this would be the perfect time to see. Unfortunately for the scientists, the events could still be explained by random chance, meaning they weren’t necessary linked, despite the recent swarm of them this year.

According to the Daily Mail, there were 13 large earthquakes (magnitude-6.5 or higher) just in April, 2014. To put that figure in perspective, the average number of big tremblors was 16.7 in 2010 — for an entire year. Even that figure is increasing. The average back in 1979 was 10 per year. The slowly increasing rise means more people along what’s commonly known as the “ring of fire” may be at risk.

There’s still no explanation for the increase, although scientists found an issue causing smaller seismic events.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, researchers recently concluded that fracking — injecting water and chemicals deep into the Earth — is “almost certainly” causing small-scale quakes across the American mid-west. Dallas, Texas, reportedly felt almost 40 small earthquakes, despite being a historically stable area.

Scientists can’t rule out hydraulic fracturing one day causing a larger quake. If the earthquake in Hawaii is any indication, the year 2015 might also be a bad year for seismic activity, like 2014.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]