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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3013


Earthquakes in Hawai‘i—An Underappreciated but Serious Hazard

By Paul G. Okubo and Jennifer S. Nakata

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.1 MB)Summary

The State of Hawaii has a history of damaging earthquakes. Earthquakes in the State are primarily the result of active volcanism and related geologic processes. It is not a question of “if” a devastating quake will strike Hawai‘i but rather “when.” Tsunamis generated by both distant and local quakes are also an associated threat and have caused many deaths in the State. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its cooperators monitor seismic activity in the State and are providing crucial information needed to help better prepare emergency managers and residents of Hawai‘i for the quakes that are certain to strike in the future.

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information:
Contact HVO
Volcano Science Center, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
P.O. Box 51, 1 Crater Rim Road
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0051

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Okubo, P.G., and Nakata, J.S., 2011, Earthquakes in Hawai‘i—an underappreciated but serious hazard: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3013, 6 p., available at

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