Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.1 hit New Britain, Papua New Guinea at 11:20 UTC on March 30, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 57.2 km (35.5 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.2 at a depth of 65 km (40.4 miles).

The epicenter was located 106 km (66 miles) E of Kimbe (population 18 847), 197 km (122 miles) SW of Kokopo (population 26 237) and 344 km (214 miles) S of Kavieng (population 13 390), Papua New Guinea.

There are 120 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

23 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking and 169 000 light. 

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) and unreinforced brick masonry construction.

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

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM

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