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Shallow M7.7 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia – Tsunami Watch in effect


A shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.7 hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands at 13:20 UTC on February 10, 2021. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M7. at the same depth.

The epicenter was located 415 km (258 miles) E of Vao, New Caledonia, and 474 km (295 miles) SSE of Isangel, Vanuatu.

There are no people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible, PTWC said. Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within the next three hours along some coasts of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Wallis and Fuituna, and Tuvalu and Niue.

Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 m (1 to 3.3 feet) above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Fiji, New Zealand, and Vanuatu.

Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3 m above the tide level for the coasts of American Samoa, Australia, Chuuk, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Howland and baker, Jarvis island, Kermadec islands, Kiribati, Kosrae, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palmyra Island, Papua new guinea, Pohnpei, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Wallis and Futuna.

Potential impacts

* a tsunami is a series of waves. The time between wave crests can vary from 5 minutes to an hour. The hazard may persist for many hours or longer after the initial wave.

* impacts can vary significantly from one section of coast to the next due to local bathymetry and the shape and elevation of the shoreline.

* impacts can also vary depending upon the state of the tide at the time of the maximum tsunami waves.

* persons caught in the water of a tsunami may drown, Be crushed by debris in the water, Or be swept out to sea.

Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

The quake was preceded by M6.1 at 13:02 UTC, M5.7 at 12:32 UTC, and M6.0 at 12:24 UTC.

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

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis that might have contributed to losses.

64 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking and 1 229 000 weak.

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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