How to stay safe during a Hawai‘i earthquake

USGS seismologist Paul Okubo says earthquake risk is not just on Hawai‘i Island, it spans the entire state. At a talk at UH Hilo, he’ll be giving some pointers on ways to keep safe when the next “big one” hits.

Paul Okubo
Paul Okubo

Large earthquakes pose an ever-present danger to Hawai‘i. Since 1868, more than 30 magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquakes have impacted residents throughout the state.

According to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the probability that another destructive — magnitude-6.5 or higher — earthquake will strike the Hawaiian Islands in the next 10 years is 50 percent; in the next 20 years, the probability increases to 75 percent,

Paul Okubo, a seismologist at the observatory, says that while Hawai‘i Island experiences more seismicity than the other Hawaiian islands, earthquake risk spans the entire state.

As a recent example, he notes that the October 2006 magnitude 6.7 and 6.0 earthquakes, with an epicenter located off the western coast of Hawai‘i Island, caused $200 million in damages on both the islands of Hawai‘i and Maui, as well as an extended power outage on O‘ahu.

The public is invited to learn more about Hawai‘i’s earthquakes when Okubo gives a presentation about “Hawaiʻi’s ‘Big’ Earthquakes” at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Oct. 14. The seismologist will present an overview of earthquakes in Hawaiʻi, including current theories on why they occur.

Okubo also will talk about The Great Hawai‘i ShakeOut, an annual earthquake awareness and preparedness event scheduled for Oct. 16, and what people can do to protect themselves during Hawai‘i’s next large earthquake.

Okubo’s presentation at UH Hilo will take place on Oct. 14, at 7:00 p.m., in the Sciences and Technology Building, Room 108, located on the campus off W. Lanikaula Street.

For more information about this presentation, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website or call (808) 967-8844.