Very strong and shallow M7.1 earthquake hits off the coast of New Caldonia

A very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.1 hit off the coast of New Caledonia at 03:51 UTC on August 29, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 26.7 km (16.6 miles). EMSC is reporting Mw7.1 at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles). This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 231.2 km (143.7 miles) ESE of Tadine (population 7 492), New Caledonia and 290.7 km (180.7 miles) SSE of Isangel (population 1 437), Vanuatu.

There are no people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Some 6 000 people are estimated to have felt weak shaking and 340 000 light.

A 27 cm (0.88 feet) tsunami wave (not dangerous) has been observed.

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 tsunamis that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: USGS, EMSC

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