Very strong M7.2 earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

Very strong M7.2 earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

A very strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.2 hit near Bulolo, Papua New Guinea at 21:19 UTC on May 6, 2019 (07:49 local time, May 7). The agency is reporting a depth of 126.9 km (78.8 miles). EMSC is reporting M7.1 at a depth of 130 km (80.7 miles). 

This earthquake can have a medium humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

The epicenter was located 36.6 km (22.7 miles) NW of Bulolo (population 16 042) and 53.1 km (33 miles) NW of Wau (population 14 629), Papua New Guinea.

There are several small villages near the epicenter - Wowas 3 km (1.8 miles), Dambi 8 km (5 miles), Marilinan 11 km (6.8 miles) and Tsile Tsile 14 km (8.7 miles)

There are 610 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles) and 1 700 within 10 km.

2 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 829 000 strong, 936 000 moderate and 3 203 000 light.

Liquefaction triggered by this earthquake is estimated to be significant in severity and (or) spatial extent.

The number of people living near areas that could have produced liquefaction in this earthquake is significant. This is not a direct estimate of liquefaction fatalities or losses.

Liquefaction map. Credit: USGS

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 unreinforced brick masonry and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) 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

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM

Register/become a supporter

Support us AD-FREE

Your support is crucial for our survival. It makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share. 

Monthly subscription

Subscription options

Yearly subscription

Subscription options

You'll receive your ad-free account for 20x faster browsing experience, clean interface without any distractions, ability to post comments without prior editorial check, all our desktop and mobile applications (current and upcoming) ad-free and with the full set of features available, a direct line of communication and much more. See all options.


No comments yet. Why don't you post the first comment?

Post a comment

Your name: *

Your email address: *

Comment text: *

The image that appears on your comment is your Gravatar