The quake struck at 5.26pm last night, equal to 4.26am BST, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Honolulu stressed no tsunami had been triggered as a result. The quake was centred 27 miles south of Hilo and 12 miles southeast of Kilauea at a depth of more than three miles, the US Geological Survey said. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) officials said the quake was “part of the continuing adjustments beneath the south flank of Kilauea following the magnitude-6.9 earthquake that occurred on May 4, 2018.”
It added: “The earthquakes have caused no detectable changes in activity at either Kilauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes.”
HVO officials said that shortly prior to the latest quake, another, 1.6 magnitude tremor was recovered deep beneath Kilauea’s southwest rift zone, which they said caused “some initial confusion about the larger earthquake’s location.”
The USGS’s “Did you feel it?” web service, which allows users to report anecdotal evidence of volcano activity, received more than 100 reports within an hour of the larger earthquake.
The so-called 2018 lower Puna eruption began on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018, and is related to a wider ongoing eruption of Kilauea which began on January 3, 1983.
The enormous amounts of lava produced dramatically reshaped the south-eastern corner of Big Island, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, covering almost 14 square miles.
In doing so, it destroyed more than 700 houses and displacing thousands of people from their homes.
Estimates have put the total cost of the damage at more than $800million.
In addition, Big Island residents had to contend with noxious gases spewing out of the East Rift zone, including vog, a form of air pollution that results when sulphur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight, and laze, which is essentially acid rain.
Meanwhile volcanic glass particles known as Pele’s hair fell downwind of the fissure and accumulated on the ground.
By early August the eruption had subsided, and on December 5, after three months of activity, it was declared to have ended, with a status of normal/green, meaning it is a in a “typical background, noneruptive state”.
A statement carried on the USGS website said: “Kilauea Volcano is not erupting. Monitoring data over the past eight months have shown relatively low rates of seismicity, deformation, and gas emission at the summit and East Rift Zone (ERZ) including the area of the 2018 eruption.
“Despite this classification, Kilauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to a return to eruption, the time frame of warning may be short.
“Island of Hawaiʻi residents should be familiar with the long-term hazard map for Kilauea Volcano and how to stay informed about Kilauea activity.“
Speaking in the midst of last year’s eruption, Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, who returned to work to oversee the ongoing relief operation days after suffering a heart attack, told Express.co.uk he was keen to capitalise on what he said was a truly extraordinary geological spectacle, by building viewing platforms from which visitors could safely view the lava flows from Kilaueu.
He said: “I don’t care who you are and what you have seen.
“You do not walk away from that sight feeling anything other than awe at the power of nature.”