Hawaii earthquake jolts Honolulu

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HONOLULU - A small earthquake hit Hawaii on Thursday, with a jolt felt across Honolulu.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 3.6 temblor struck at 2:12 p.m. (0015 GMT Friday), about 12 miles (19 kilometers) deep in the Kaiwi Channel, between the islands of Oahu and Molokai.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. No tsunami was generated.

The quake that lasted for several seconds shook homes and people throughout Oahu, from high-rise buildings in downtown Honolulu to the tourist district of Waikiki. People about 160 miles (257 kilometers) away on Maui reported feeling the quake, the USGS said.

Katrina Woodcock felt it while sitting at her desk on the 7th floor of a downtown Honolulu office building. The shaking lasted for about five seconds or so, and only one other person in her office noticed the earthquake, she said.

"I felt like it was shaking, and I was like, 'What is that, is our building falling?" she said.

Earthquakes are common in Hawaii with events occurring almost daily. Most are small and centered around the Big Island, where most of the state's seismic and volcanic activity takes place.

"Let's face it, if this was on the Big Island, they would've continued on with their day," said Victor Sardina, geophysicist with the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. "They get these every day."

However, quakes around Oahu are less common with about two annually, he said.

Oahu is the most densely populated island with nearly 1 million residents and tens of thousands of tourists. The island is also home to several military bases including Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Sardina said the warning center usually issues statements on earthquakes only above magnitude 4.0. But the center issued one Thursday knowing the quake was widely felt in a populated area.

The cause of the quake is unknown. Sardina said it may have been caused by a fracture in the ocean floor or internal movement.

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