Environment

Strong M6.2 earthquake hits near Ambae, Vanuatu


A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.2 hit near the coast of Ambae, Vanuatu at 15:23 UTC on March 20, 2019 at a depth of 125.4 km (78 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.2 at a depth of 134 km (83 miles).

The epicenter was located 49.1 km (30.5 miles) ESE of Luganville (population 13 397) and 245 km (153 miles) NNW of Port-Vila (population 35 901), Vanuatu.

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

There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.

1 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking and 179 000 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 highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unknown/miscellaneous types and wood construction.

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

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM

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