Powerful M7.7 earthquake hits Sulawesi, tsunami warning issued, Indonesia

Very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the BMKG as M7.7 hit Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia at 10:02 UTC (17:02 local time) on September 28, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). USGS is reporting M7.5 at a depth of 10 km, EMSC M7.4 at the same depth. Powerful aftershocks are shaking the region. The quake comes just 3 hours after deadly M6.1 hit the same area.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 44 km (34 miles) NNE of Donggala, 80 km (50 miles) N of Palu (population 282 431), and 168 km (105 miles) NW of Poso (population 47 110), Indonesia.

A tsunami warning has been issued by the BMKG. The threat is now mostly over.

There are 780 000 people living within 100 km (620 miles).

Some 20 000 people are estimated to have felt severe shaking, 73 000 very strong, 604 000 strong, 1 374 000 moderate, 12 047 000 light and 9 259 000 weak.

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The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick with concrete floor and precast concrete frame with wall construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

The USGS registered two M5.8 aftershocks at 10:14 and 10:25, respectively. Both at a depth of 10 km.

At 07:00 UTC today, a M6.1 earthquake hit the same region, killing at least one person and injuring 10. Dozens of homes were damaged.

Featured image credit: USGS, EMSC

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