Powerful M7.5 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Powerful M7.5 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.5 hit New Britain, Papua New Guinea at 12:58 UTC (22:58 LT) on May 14, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M7.5 at a depth of 48 km (29.8 miles).

The epicenter was located 44.2 km (27.5 miles) NE of Kokopo (population 26 273) and 258 km (160 miles) of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

There are 240 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

18 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 232 000 strong, 53 000 moderate and 331 000 light.

Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible within 1 000 km (620 miles) along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, NTWC said.

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 and landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Note: This report is based on preliminary data and is being updated

Featured image credit: Google, TW/SAM


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