Very strong and shallow M7.0 earthquake, strong aftershocks hit P.N.G.

A very strong earthquake registered by the USGS and EMSC as M7.0 hit Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Region at 20:48 UTC on October 10, 2018. The USGS is reporting a depth of 40.3 km (25 miles). The quake was preceded by M6.1 at 20:45, and followed by M5.9 at 20:59, another M5.9 at 21:13, M6.2 at 22:00 and M4.7 at 03:15 UTC.

The epicenter was located 118.3 km (73.5 miles) E of Kimbe (population 18 847) and 188 km (117 miles) NE of Kokopo (population 26 273), P.N.G.

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

Some 14 000 are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 40 000 strong, 73 000 moderate and 352 000 light.

Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts, PTWC said immediately after the quake. Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 30 cm (11.8 inches) above the tide level for the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The threat is now over.

PTWC oceanographer David Walsh said any tsunami from the earthquake would only affect areas immediately around the epicenter.

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 wood construction.

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

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

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Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: USGS, EMSC

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