Massive quakes in Oceania
News of increased volcanism arrived from Vanuatu in the last days of the year. But it was seismic activity, who brought Vanuatu and other countries of this region to the international news earlier this year. Beginning with a M6.5 quake + tsunami on February 19, the only damaging quake in Vanuatu, a series of major (but usual) hit the area. The strongest on March 29 with M7.5 near New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Quake and tsunami (60 cm amplitude) caused minor damage. Worse: The effects of a same sized quake on May 5, where several buildings suffered major damage and the tsunami flooded some roads. This quake was preceded by 6.7 and 6.8 quakes in April 30 and May 1, also with damage and tsunamis - an active week for New Britain. In the same time, an unusual and unexplained swarm of minor quakes damaged several buildings in Central Fiji. The quakes were too minor to be detected.
July was the "month of Solomon Islands". Three damaging earthquakes occurred. The first (M5.8) near Makira, which worsed the food crisis that followed months of tropical storm acitvity.
A minor tsunami hit the western province on July 10 after a M6.7 earthquake. A bit larger: Damage and tsunami in Temotu on July 20, the quake had M7.0. A phenomen, which was observed several times in the last years: Major earthquakes in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands often occurr in swarms, which last several months and affect more than only one area. However: The damage which has been caused by quakes up to M8 in 2013 and 2014 was unrivaled 2015.
The big ones in Chile in Japan
A sentence, which can be used in many regions of the world, even if you have to adapt the year. In Japan und Chile the major quakes happened 2011 and 2010, but were hit by magnitude 8 quakes again in 2015.
The region Coquimbo in central Chile - prone to earthquakes and tsunamis - has built earthquake resistent structures, a tsunami early warning system for coastal areas and holds regulary tsunami and earthquake drills. On September 16 it has paid off: A magnitude 8.3 earthquake occurred near the coast and was felt in many parts of southern South America. It triggered a tsunami, which reached a heigh of nearly 5 meters in Chile and promted evacuations in Frensh Polynesia, New Zealand and Japan. Some towns along the chilean coast were flooded by the waves and several hundred houses destroyed. But only 15 people were killed - one million people left the threatened areas within minutes after the quake and survived the disaster. The quake itself lead to destruction of buildings in parts of Chile in Argentina. One panic related casualty was reported from Buenos Aires. 3000 destroyed and 5000 damaged houses makes it one of the most destructive earthquake of the year. But the low number of casualties leaves joy about a well working early warning system.
Something, which is used in Japan too. Tokyo residents received the message of a magnitude 8.1 near Kanagawa islands seconds after it happened. All precautions were done immediately, although the quake, which occurred in a depth of 600 km, was harmless. No tsunami, only minor damage and 12 people with panic related injuries resulted. The worst effect: People in Nepal and India, who clearly felt the shaking, feared a new massive quake for some seconds.
Page 1: The ongoing disaster in Nepal
Page 2: Months of fear in Central Asia
Page 3: Spared China - Punished Borneo?
Page 4: Massive quakes around the pacific "Ring of Fire"
Page 5: Deaths, injuries and destruction