SAN FRANCISCO - A powerful earthquake and repeated aftershocks rattled Hawaii
on Sunday, knocking out power and unnerving residents and vacationers but
causing no injuries or extensive structural damage, agencies reported.
The 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Hawaii on Sunday
morning, with shaking and power outages felt as far as 150 miles away on the
island of Oahu, but no tsunami warnings were in effect.
A police officer
directs traffic at an intersection with darkened traffic lights in
Honolulu in this October 15, 2006 video grab. [Reuters]
The U.S. Geological Survey considers an earthquake of 6.6 magnitude to be
strong. The agency initially recorded the earthquake as a 6.3 magnitude temblor.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, but there were scattered reports
of damage and power outages were widespread.
"It was the biggest earthquake we've been through. It was pretty serious and
we've lived in Tokyo for 11 years," said Arthur Roberts, who lives 15 miles
north of Hilo on Hawaii. "We heard that Kona community hospital suffered
structural damage and is moving patients to another site."
The Honolulu Advertiser reported on its Web site that Honolulu International
Airport was closed, there were landslides in Hamakua and Kealakekua and major
damage at Kona Hospital, the Honokaa Long-term Care Facility and the Royal Kona
The earthquake was not strong enough to trigger a tsunami warning, according
to the Pacific
Tsunami Warning Center.
"There is no tsunami warning in place," said Victor Sardina, a geophysicist
at the center on Oahu.
"We had a power supply outage and we're running on power backup," Sardina
said by telephone. "This whole area was shaken up. It was pretty strong
Honolulu resident Carol Chesney said the earthquake woke the city. "The whole
house really rattled," she told Reuters by telephone.
Stuart Koyanagi, another geophysicist at the tsunami warning center, said the
6.6 magnitude earthquake was followed seven minutes later by a 5.8 magnitude
temblor and by several smaller quakes. Seismologists warned of aftershocks
Michael Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian
Volcano Observatory, said the earthquake was likely the largest to hit Hawaii
since 1989, and possibly the largest since an even larger one measuring 7.2 hit
in 1975. Those earthquakes struck less developed areas, Poland