M6.4 earthquake hits Vanuatu at intermediate depth

M6.4 earthquake hits Vanuatu at intermediate depth

A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.4 hit Vanuatu at 02:52 UTC on October 21, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 226 km (140 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.4 at a depth of 237 km (147 miles).

The epicenter was located 58 km (36 miles) NNE of Isangel (population 1 437) and 188 km (117 miles) SE of Port-Vila (population 25 901), Vanuatu.

118 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking.

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.

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: USGS

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