A very strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.0 hit Vanuatu at 12:32 UTC on January 8, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 27.7 km (17.2 miles). EMSC reports M7.0 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).
The epicenter was located about 23.9 km (14.9 miles) WNW of Port-Olry (population 1 951), 71.6 km (44.5 miles) NNW of Luganville (population 13 397), and 347.1 km (215.7 miles) NNW of Port-Vila (population 35 901), Vanuatu.
12 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 45 000 strong and 24 000 moderate.
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 tsunamis and landslides that might have contributed to losses.
Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, this earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami, PTWC said.
Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking
Selected cities exposed
Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google
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