Magnitude 6.2 – Near north coast of New Guinea

magnitude-6-2-near-north-coast-of-new-guinea

6.2 magnitude earthquake has shaken the South Pacific region near the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Epicenter was 48 km (29 miles) ESE of Wewak, 242 km (150 miles) N of Mount Hagen, New Guinea, PNG (3.638°S, 144.160°E) at depth of 34.9 km (21.7 miles) according to USGS. Wewak is the capital of the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea.  It is the largest town between Madang and Jayapura.

Australian Geoscience (instruments relatively close to PNG) has a magnitude of 6.3 but a far better depth of 62 km (much weaker shaking).

PNG houses are mostly build out of wood and have a very high resistance against earthquakes. This is the tenth major earthquake to strike the globe in the month of September.

Tectonic Setting and Volcanoes of Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and the Solomon Islands

Papua New Guinea is located in the South Pacific and lies 3 degrees north and 11 degrees south of the Equator. Papua New Guinea consists of a mainland and a collection of islands of varying sizes. The mainland is really part of the island of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world after Greenland.

The island as a whole has an area of 868,000 km, which the eastern 462,800 km is part of Papua New Guinea. Both geologically and topographically, the country is very new. It is situated in a zone where the earth’s crust is very weak, on the boundary between two tectonic plates, those of the ancient continent of Australia and of the Pacific Ocean. It forms part of the so-called “Ring of Fire” around the edge of the Pacific, and most of the country has been formed by comparatively recent earth movements and volcanic activity.

The islands of New Britain and bougainville have active volcanoes and experience earthquakes of up to 5 on the richter scale from time to time. (PNGEmbassy)

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