Very strong earthquake close to the shore of Papua New Guinea – NO serious damage reported from Aitape

Last update: April 17, 2013 at 5:59 am by By

Update 05:52 UTC :
What appeared as a strong 05:05 UTC  M5.5 aftershock is in fact a totally different earthquake in the Indonesian part of the island (also the depth differs from the Aitape earthquake). The epicenter was inland and based on what we know from previous earthquakes in the area, we do not expect any damage as inland settlements have houses who can resist even massive earthquakes (the experience of hundreds of years of massive earthquakes !)

Update 02:45 UTC :
A major tsunami did not occur. There was major panic in Aitape, with recollections of the horror M7.1 1998 earthquake which killed over 2000 people through a tsunami. The shaking lasted for around a minute.
Although there are some cracks in walls and some objects fell from shelves, no significant damage has been reported.

Update 23:59 UTC : We expect that it will take a number of hours before we will get more information from PNG. It may however be quicker than normally as it was close to Aitape and especially Wewak, 2 populated areas interconnected with a coastal road.

Update 23:50 UTC : Earthquake-Report.com calls AITAPE (6000 inhabitants) at risk for potential damage and injuries.

Update 23:46 UTC : USGS did calculate the theoretical shaking impact at the most important cities near the epicenter :
VII  (very strong shaking)  Aitape    6000
V    (Moderate shaking) Ambunti    2000,  Wewak    18000
IV    (light shaking) Vanimo    11000, Angoram    2000, Abepura    62000, Jayapura    135000, Wabag    4000,  Mount Hagen    34000, Kundiawa    9000 and Goroka    19000

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 01.44.06

Update 23:23 UTC : GDACS has calculated that the max. tsunami wave could be 30 cm, this based on their computer data and also based on the USGS parameters.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 01.36.54

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 01.33.56

Update 23:17 UTC : USGS has calculated that some coastal settlements may experience a MMI VIII Severe shaking. These data are based on a M6.8 Magnitude at an extremely shallow depth of 8 km.
Normally a M6.8 is not strong enough to generate a tsunami but due to the location near the shoreline and eventual local circumstances, we call the conditions dangerous.
The MMI VIII shaking may also be a problem for concrete houses near the coast. PNG houses are often struck by very strong to massive earthquakes but mostly the earthquake data are more favorable.

Update 23:15 UTC
Pacific Tsunami Center message
for the Pacific :
EVALUATION
NO DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS BASED ON  HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA.
HOWEVER – EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE SOMETIMES GENERATE LOCAL  TSUNAMIS THAT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS LOCATED WITHIN A HUNDRED KILOMETERS OF THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES  IN THE REGION OF THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS  POSSIBILITY AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION.

A very strong earthquake struck near the shoreline of the road from Wewak to the the west.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 01.16.17

28km (17mi) E of Aitape, Papua New Guinea
124km (77mi) WNW of Wewak, Papua New Guinea
151km (94mi) ESE of Vanimo, Papua New Guinea
220km (137mi) ESE of Jayapura, Indonesia
865km (537mi) NW of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 6.5

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-04-17 08:55:27

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-04-16 22:55:27

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 23 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the “I Felt It” button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
PTWC Near North Coast Of New Guinea P.n.g. Apr 16 23:01 6.8 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Near N Coast Of New Guinea, Png. Apr 16 22:55 6.6 10 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Near N. Coast Of New Guinea, Png. Apr 16 22:55 6.5 23 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Near The North Coast Of New Guinea, Papua New Apr 16 22:55 6.6 13 MAP I Felt It
USGS Near The North Coast Of New Guinea, Papua New Apr 16 22:55 6.8 10 MAP I Felt It
WCATWC Near N Coast Of New Guinea Png. Apr 16 22:55 6.8 9 MAP I Felt It


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SHARE YOUR EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCE WITH US

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Country where you felt the earthquake
City/Village where you felt the earthquake
Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
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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