'Light' quake rattles some local nerves
LANAI CITY » Cafe 565 owner Kelly Matsumura thought he was feeling an explosion when an earthquake shook the First Hawaiian Bank building on Lanai yesterday morning.
"As soon as we figured it was an earthquake, it was over," he said.
At the Nail Shop in South Maui, Sonya Perley thought the 15-second shake was someone doing construction. "It really shook my chair three or four times back and forth," she said.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on the Big Island described the magnitude-4.4 quake at 10:03 a.m. yesterday as "light," and no damage was reported anywhere.
But the location, 19 miles deep just off the southern shore of Kahoolawe, put it close enough to Maui to prompt about 50 phones calls to Maui Civil Defense, agency official Michelle Kaopuiki-Ugalino said.
Reports also came from as far as Kaneohe, Oahu, and Paauilo, north of Hilo.
"Our office was immediately inundated with calls from concerned residents," Peter Hirai, plans and operations officer for Oahu Civil Defense, said in a press release. "Thankfully our friends at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center were quickly able to notify the Civil Defense system that no tsunami had been generated."
People working with the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission on the former target island called their agency office in Wailuku saying they felt some tremor and asking if a tsunami had been generated, commission Executive Director Sol Kahoohalahala said.
There was no tsunami, and the staff on the island reported no damage to trailers that house commission operations, Kahoohalahala said.
Kaopuiki-Ugalino said hotels and King Kamehameha III Elementary School in Lahaina also were concerned about a possible tsunami, and some tourists just wanted to know what was going on.
At the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, seismologist Paul Okubo said the probable cause of the quake was rocks being crushed deep underground under the weight of the islands.