Historic Earthquakes

North of Island of Maui, Hawaii
1938 January 23 UTC (local time January 22)
Magnitude 6.8

This strong earthquake, which was felt throughout the islands, caused property damage estimated at $150,000 on Maui. Several landslides occurred throughout the island, some chimneys fell, walls were cracked, and pipelines were damaged. Two large oil tanks were shattered at Hana. Ranches on southern Maui sustained heavy damage to water tanks and stone walls. Walls collapsed from Ohia to Mapulehu. The Olinda Reservoir was cracked severely, and the steel storage dam on the Wailuku-Kahului line was damaged.

Many severe cracks formed in roadbeds throughout Maui. At Kula, cracks as wide as 3.8 cm formed in the Haleaka road. On Molokai, at Mapulehu, cracks 5 to 7.5 cm in width and as much as 30.5 m in length formed on the east Molokai road. Minor damage also occurred on the islands of Kauai, Lanai, Oahu, and northern Hawaii. Flashes of light were observed in the sky before and during the earthquake.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.