Series of strong earthquakes hit off the coast of Port Vila, Vanuatu

Series of strong earthquakes hit off the coast of Port Vila, Vanuatu

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.2 hit off the coast of Port Vila, Vanuatu at 00:49 UTC on February 16, 2021. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting the same magnitude and depth. The quake was preceded by two M4.9 earthquakes at 10:34 UTC and 16:51 UTC on February 15; and followed by M5.4 at 01:22 UTC on February 16, M5.7 at 01:31, M5.3 at 03:37, and M5.0 at 04:44 UTC.

The epicenter of the M6.2 earthquake was located about 90 km (56 miles) W of Port-Vila and 190 km (118 miles) S of Lakatoro, Vanuatu.

There are about 69 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

98 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking and 99 000 weak.

Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake, PTWC said.

There are no reports of damage or injuries.

Earthquakes east of Port Vila on February 15 and 16, 2021. Credit: TW/SAM, Google

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: TW/SAM, Google

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