Strong M6.6 earthquake hits Vanuatu at intermediate depth


A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.6 hit Vanuatu at 15:02 UTC on July 31, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 179.1 km (111.3 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.5 at a depth of 192 km (119.3 miles).

The epicenter was located 57 km (35 miles) E of Lakatoro (population 705), 110 km (68 miles) SE of Luganville (population 13 397) and 178 km (111 miles) NNW of Port-Vila (population 35 901), Vanuatu.

There are about 86 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

There is no tsunami risk from this earthquake.

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 landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: USGS


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