Hawaii's magnitude-6.9 quake biggest since 1975 - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Copy-Hawaii's magnitude-6.9 quake biggest since 1975

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(AP / Meredith) -- Authorities say a magnitude-6.9 earthquake that hit Hawaii's Big Island is the largest to strike in more than four decades.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Chip McCreery says a magnitude-7.5 earthquake rocked the island in 1975. Magnitude-6.7 earthquakes hit in 1983 and 2006.

Friday's temblor came amid a series of quakes as lava breaks out from new vents in the Earth from Kilauea volcano.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman Janet Babb says scientists are processing data from the earthquakes to see if they're affecting the eruption.

She says magma is moving down the rift zones, which stresses the south flank of the volcano.

There are no immediate reports of major damage. 

Hawaii National Guard spokesman Maj. Jeff Hickman says the Hilo airport and the highways didn't sustain any damage from Friday's magnitude-6.9 quake.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder says the county has yet to conduct a damage assessment.

State Sen. Russell Ruderman says he could feel strong shaking in Hilo. He says merchandise fell off the shelves in a natural food store he owns. He also felt shaking during an earlier magnitude-5.4 earthquake.

He says residents are stressed out about earthquakes while coping with a lava threat from Kilauea volcano that has burned two homes.

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