First ‘official’ Great Hawaii ShakeOut is a success


At 10:17 a.m. Oct. 17, thousands of Hawaii residents took part in the first Great Hawaii ShakeOut. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory commends everyone who practiced “Drop! Cover! Hold on!” Those participants joined more than 19.5 million people worldwide who also took part in the annual earthquake drill.

If you — as an individual, family, business, school or other group — took action to prepare for Hawaii’s next large earthquake, tell us about it at “Share your ShakeOut,” shakeout.org/hawaii/share, where you can write about your experience and post photos.

Hawaii is subject to many kinds of natural hazards, including earthquakes. Large earthquakes typically occur on and around the island of Hawaii, but historically, they have also occurred around Maui, Molokai and Lanai, with damage extending as far as Oahu. The probability of a destructive magnitude 6.5 or higher earthquake striking the Hawaiian Islands in the next 10 years is 50 percent.

Originating in 2008, the first drill was known as the “Great Southern California ShakeOut.” The main goal of the drill then, as it is now, was to practice “Drop! Cover! Hold On!”

Benefits of taking part in the Great Hawaii ShakeOut include becoming more aware of earthquake hazards along the Hawaiian chain and having an opportunity to think about and practice what you will do during the next large earthquake.

The 15,000 registered participants in the first Great Hawaii ShakeOut were from Hawaii, Maui and Honolulu counties and included a number of schools. Waimea Middle School, the only organization in Hawaii to participate in the national earthquake drill last year, participated again this year. Students at Holualoa Elementary School — first-time ShakeOut participants — created a catchy rap to help fellow classmates learn what to do in an earthquake. When the earthquake drill took place, everyone was prepared, and it was a rousing success.

If you missed the Oct. 17 drill, you can still take steps to minimize your risk of injury during the next Hawaiian earthquake. Go to the Great Hawaii ShakeOut website for helpful information, such as “Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions in Hawaii” — shakeout.org/hawaii/resources.

Given that this year was our first “official” Great Hawaii ShakeOut, participation in the earthquake awareness and preparedness drill far exceeded our expectations and underscores the desire of Hawaii residents to be prepared for natural disasters. We hope in future years to build on this success by educating and informing even more people on the hazards that earthquakes pose to the Hawaiian Islands.

Information on the Great Hawaii ShakeOut website, as well as the organization of the event, was accomplished by a consortium, including the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii County and state Civil Defense agencies, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Department of Geology and Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and the American Red Cross.

Kilauea activity update

A lava lake within the Halemaumau overlook vent produced nighttime glow visible via HVO’s webcam during the past week. A deflation-inflation cycle occurred last weekend, and the lava lake level fell and rose correspondingly. No subsequent DI events had occurred as of Thursday.

On Kilauea’s east rift zone, a breakout from the Peace Day tube above the pali was still barely active Monday, based on field observations. The Kahaualea 2 flow, fed from a spatter cone on the northeast edge of the Puu Oo crater, continues to slowly advance across old flows and into the forest. Its tip was 3.6 miles northeast of Puu Oo Monday.

One earthquake was reported felt on Hawaii Island during the past week. At 11:44 a.m. Oct. 20, a magnitude 3.7 earthquake occurred 8 miles north of Naalehu at a depth of 6 miles.

Visit hvo.wr.usgs.gov for Volcano Awareness Month details and Kilauea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai activity updates, recent volcano photos, recent earthquakes and more; call 967-8862 for a Kilauea summary; email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

Volcano Watch is a weekly article and activity update written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.