Shallow M6.1 earthquake under Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea

Shallow M6.1 earthquake under Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea

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A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.1 hit under the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea at 15:06 UTC on January 17, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting the same magnitude and depth. This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.​

The quake was followed by at least 5 moderately strong aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 4.6 to 5.2.

The epicenter was located 176.5 km (109.6 miles) SW of Lorengau (population 5 806) and 519.9 km (136.7 miles) NNE of Madang (population 27 419), Papua New Guinea.

There are just a few people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Tsunami is not expected.

Some 34 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking and 5 326 000 weak.

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 vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick with concrete floor and precast concrete frame with wall 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

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, EMSC, TW

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