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Strong M7.0 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia

A very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.0 hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia at 05:44 UTC on March 31, 2022. 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 M6.9 (USGS) / M6.7 (EMSC) at 20:56 UTC on March 30, and a series of moderate to strong aftershocks.

The epicenter was located about 280 km (174 miles) ESE of Tadine, New Caledonia, and 368 km (229 miles) SSE of Isangel, Vanuatu.

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

Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts, NWS PTWC said.

Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3 m (0.98 feet) above tide level for the coasts of Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Actual amplitudes at the coast may vary from forecast amplitudes due to uncertainties in the forecast and local features. In particular maximum tsunami amplitudes on atolls and at locations with fringing or barrier reefs will likely be much smaller than the forecast indicates.

Image 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.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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