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Very strong M6.3 earthquake near the Santa Cruz Islands (Solomon Islands)

Last update: February 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm by By

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The Santa Cruz earthquake swarm continued also today (February 2)
The series of earthquakes who started a couple of days ago near the Santa Cruz Islands is continuing.
The stronger earthquakes carry Magnitudes in between 4.5 and 6.2
There was a 5.5 – 5,9 earthquake west of Lord Howe Islands on 18.58 UTC,  followed by a weaker quake some minutes before.
We got no damage reports from earlier quakes, so we do not expect damage from this quake neither.
We fear that the series of powerful quakes will continue for some time and Magnitudes around 7 are not excluded.
The Pacific area was relatively calm since many months. As the tectonic plates in this area of the world are moving very fast (up to 8 cm / year) very strong to massive quakes are inevitable.


Update February 2 – 00:21 UTC : The situation in the area can go on for some time. Aftershocks of M5+, even M6 are to be expected.
The epicenter area is located near the Tinakula volcano.
The stress has been generated by the Australian tectonic plate subducting the Pacific plate.

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 01.48.35


Update 23:42 UTC : It looks like the seismological agencies had a hard time calculating the exact values. The latest USGS update winds back to the initial EMSC values, now reporting a Magnitude of Mw 6.3 at a depth of 20 km. It does not change our damage expectations, but it proofs that seismology needs time to present their best values.

Update 23:28 UTC : When you click on the info link of this earthquake below, a page will open showing the location and Magnitudes of today’s earthquake (look at the different epicenter locations! – This happens continuously and therefore it is very difficult to exactly locate the epicenter without local feedback of the population in locations like the Santa Cruz Islands).

Update 22:59 UTC : EMSC has now followed USGS and has increased the Magnitude from the initial 6.2 to 6.7. Geofon from M6.2 to 6.4. The strongest earthquake in the area since the quakes started 2 days ago. Hopefully this will be the last very strong one.

Update 22:52 UTC : USGS is holding to the M6.7 Magnitude at a depth of 34 km. USGS expects that  5000 people will have felt a strong shaking and 13000 people a moderate shaking. The population on these islands are used to frequent strong to very strong earthquakes and even at Magnitudes like this, at the distance of +50 km from the nearest island, ER expects no serious damage.

Update 22:29 UTC : EMSC reported a M6.2 Magnitude which is a lot weaker than the first available data

For the second day in a row a very strong earthquake (preliminary Magnitude 6.6) hit out of the Santa Cruz Islands coast.
We do not expect any tsunami danger + just like the very strong earthquakes from yesterday, no damage as the nearest island is tens of km away from the epicenter.

Shaking intensity map courtesy USGS

Shaking intensity map courtesy USGS

Solomon Islands-only earthquake list

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : Mw6.3 (USGS)
Local time at epicenter : 2013-02-02 09:16:36 UTC+11:00 at epicenter
UTC/GMT Time : 2013-02-01 22:16:36 UTC
Depth (Hypocenter) : 19.9 km
Geo-location(s) :
47km (29mi) WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
542km (337mi) NNW of Luganville, Vanuatu
624km (388mi) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
814km (506mi) NNW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
1122km (697mi) N of We, New Caledonia

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Shaking map
Human impact map
Scientific parameters
NOAA Tsunami map

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SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:26 4.9 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:26 4.9 9 MAP I Felt It INFO
PTWC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:24 6.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:18 6.3 18 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:18 6.4 22 MAP I Felt It INFO
WCATWC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:17 6.7 9 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:16 6.3 19 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:16 6.3 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:16 6.7 36 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 22:16 6.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 05:36 5.8 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 05:36 6.0 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 05:36 6.0 9 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 01:49 4.9 24 MAP I Felt It
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 01:49 4.9 29 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 00:42 4.8 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 00:42 4.8 9 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 00:18 5.2 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 00:18 5.1 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Santa Cruz Islands Feb 01 00:18 5.1 10 MAP I Felt It

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MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
People
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
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