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Earthquake Shakes Hawaii

Islanders begin to assess the damage

By Tiffany Chaparro | October 16 , 2006

The contents of kitchen cabinets and a refrigerator are spilled
The contents of kitchen cabinets and a refrigerator are spilled across a floor in a Kailua-Kona, Hawaii kitchen after the earthquake that shook Hawaii on October 15, 2006.(Photo: Karin Stanton/AP Images)

October 16, 2006

A strong earthquake rattled Hawaiian residents from their sleep early Sunday morning. The earthquake knocked out power on much of the island and caused structural damage to some bridges and buildings.

"The level of damage is still being assessed right now," said Rodney Haraga, director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The earthquake took place at sea about 10 miles northwest of Kailua-Kona, a town on the west coast of Hawaii, known as the Big Island. It hit at 7:07 a.m., local time.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake in Hawaii had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale. The Richter scale measures the energy released by an earthquake on a scale of 1 to 10. An earthquake of this magnitude usually causes structural damage and can be destructive to property and people in highly populated areas.

It was raining when the earthquake struck, leading to mudslides in some areas. Rockslides also blocked many major roads on the Big Island. Luckily, most reported injuries were minor. There were no reports of deaths.

After the Quake

There were also more than a dozen aftershocks after the main quake. One reportedly reached 5.8 on the Richter scale.

Despite the strength of Sunday’s earthquake, scientists said there was little risk of a tsunami, though the waves would be stronger than usual. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it was most concerned about water quality on the islands and the structure of the islands' bridges.

Although earthquakes occur often in Hawaii because of volcanic activity, they usually are much less intense. The last earthquake of a similar magnitude was in 1983, when one measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit the area.


Critical Thinking Question

Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.

Earthquake Shakes Hawaii

Why are earthquakes common in Hawaii?

Join a discussion of this question on our bulletin board.


About the Author

Tiffany Chaparro is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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