Shallow M6.7 earthquake hits Vanuatu; Powerful M6.0 earthquake strikes off Maluku Utara, Indonesia


Two strong earthquakes shook Vanuatu (M6.7) and Indonesia (M6.0) today. No tsunami threats or warnings.

Stong earthquakes Vanuatu and Indonesia on November 22, 2023
Map showing the two big earthquakes (on the two ends; Vanuatu second on the right and Indonesia on the left) with some in the middle off PNG. Via USGS

M6.7 earthquake off Vanuatu

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck northern Vanuatu on Wednesday, the United States Geological Survey said, but authorities said it was not expected to trigger a tsunami.

The quake had a depth of 22 kilometers (14 miles), hitting about 300 km north of the capital Port Vila at around 3:37 pm (0447 GMT).

Centered near a sparsely populated cluster of islands, the USGS said there was a “low likelihood of casualties and damage” from the tremor.

A hotel receptionist in Port Olry, some 98 kilometers (60 miles) from the epicenter, told AFP she felt a “little earthquake” and “saw the ground shaking” but was not aware of any damage.

M6.7 earthquake Vanuatu 22Nov2023
M6.7 earthquake Vanuatu on 22Nov2023. via USGS

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was “no tsunami threat from this earthquake”.

Earthquakes are common in Vanuatu, a low-lying archipelago of 320,000 people who straddle the seismic Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire is an arc of intense tectonic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

At least seven people were killed in April this year when a 7.0-magnitude quake hit a jungle-clad area in Papua New Guinea.

M6.0 earthquake off Maluku Utara, Indonesia

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 struck the eastern side of Indonesia on Wednesday, leaving authorities on alert but with no immediate reports of casualties or damages in the affected area.

The earthquake’s epicenter was located 94 kilometers (58 miles) west of Tobelo in Indonesia’s North Maluku province, and it occurred at a significant depth of 116 kilometers (72 miles).

Despite the strength of the quake, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency reassured the public that there was no potential danger of a tsunami. However, they cautioned about the possibility of aftershocks, urging residents to remain vigilant in the aftermath of the seismic event.

M6.0 earthquake Maluku Utara Indonesia 22Nov2023
M6.0 earthquake Maluku Utara Indonesia 22Nov2023. USGS

Indonesia, being a vast archipelago with a population exceeding 270 million people, is no stranger to seismic activity. The country is positioned along the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Basin, making it prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The frequent occurrence of such natural disasters underscores the importance of preparedness and monitoring systems in the region.

The earthquake serves as a reminder of Indonesia’s vulnerability to geological events. Last year, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck West Java’s Cianjur city, claiming the lives of at least 331 people and injuring nearly 600. This event was notably the deadliest in Indonesia since the devastating 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, which resulted in the tragic loss of approximately 4,340 lives.

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