A very strong and shallow earthquake, registered by the USGS as M7.0, hit the Solomon Islands at 02:03 UTC on November 22, 2022, at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles). The quake was followed by M6.0 at 02:37 UTC at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).
The epicenter was located 18.6 km (11.6 miles) SW of Malango (population 10 532), and 57.4 km (35.6 miles) SW of Honiara (population 56 298), Solomon Islands.
12 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 180 000 strong, 78 000 moderate, and 214 000 light.
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 mud wall and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.
Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis and landslides that might have contributed to losses.
Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts, PTWC said at 02:40 UTC.
Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 m (1 – 3.3 feet) above the tide level are possible for some coasts of the Solomon Islands.
Tsunami waves are forecast to be less than 0.3 m (1 foot) above the tide level for the coasts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
The tsunami threat from this earthquake has now largely passed, PTWC said at 03:47 UTC.
Solomon Islands authorities also said the tsunami threat had passed but urged residents to remain cautious.
“We expect aftershocks so people should stay alert around buildings and tall structures because of the size of the earthquake,” said David Hiba Hiriasia, director of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service.
“There are no known injuries but the roof of the High Commission annex has collapsed, which would point to likely damage throughout the city,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament.1
A Solomon Islands Airline worker told Reuters that Honiara International Airport suffered damage to its ceiling but the building was intact.
Several [power] lines were damaged as the ground shook violently for about 30 seconds, leaving most of Honiara without power, The Solomon Times newspaper reported.2
“We will make a quick assessment of damage, and also it’s for safety reasons given the aftershocks that are expected to continue,” said a Solomon Power staff.
“Services should resume soon, or as soon as it is safe to do so with lines fixed.”
The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation said on Facebook that all radio services were off the air.
Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking
Selected cities exposed
1 Buildings damaged but no tsunami warning for Solomon Islands after 7.0 earthquake – Club of Mozambique – November 22, 2022
2 Power Cut Off After Earthquake Struck Honiara – The Solomon Times – November 22, 2022
Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google
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