Massive dangerous earthquake in the highlands of New Britain, P.N.G.

Shaking map December 2 P.N.G. New Britain earthquake

A massive earthquake at a moderate depth of  35 km has struck New Britain island in Papua New Guinea in the early afternoon hours (local time).
The earthquake was automatically measured at M 6.9 just after it happened, but was later reduced by seismologists to Mw 6.7 (both USGS and EMSC). The epicenter was located in the mountainous inland of the island.
The epicenter area has NO normal tarred roads which makes eventual rescue operations very difficult.
The settlements of Sieigit, Dulagoa, Utkihu and Ama are closest to the epicenter. These villages are mostly a collection of wooden houses.
In earthquake-rich Papua New Guinea, these houses have the unvaluable advantage that if they collapse, only few people will be seriously injured.
Only the bigger cities on the island like Kandrian and Kimbe have a lot of concrete houses and buildings. These cities will have experienced a VI MMI (strong shaking)
Based on our experiences, we will have to wait at least 2 days before we know some more news from the epicenter area.
Rescuers mostly have to walk to the epicenter area ! (yes : walk to the epicenter area !).
USGS predicts (based on their theoretical models)  a max. of VI MMI in the epicenter area (we think it will be at least VII in this area).
The earthquake was felt also in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, at a distance of 475 km from the epicenter. A MMI of VI was reported in Kimbe, 65 km from the epicenter.
The location uncertainty for this earthquake has been set to 11.4 km.
Although GDACS has issued a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries, would call this earthquake a RED alert for the settlements close to the epicenter.
One of the biggest risks in this area are landslides as the area has slopes up to 31% and a maximum altitude of 1863 m.
As the focal point of the earthquake was below the island, there was never a tsunami risk involved.
As earthquakes a regular fact in P.N.G. and as the local press is not able to report it will be very hard to find out the final outcome of this earthquake.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : Mw 6.7
UTC time : Thursday, December 02, 2010 at 03:12:10 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Thursday, December 02, 2010 at 01:12:10 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 34.8 km
New ! Quake-Maps “ Did you felt this earthquake ? Mark it on our
Geo-location(s) :
40 km (25 miles) ENE of Kandrian, New Britain, PNG
65 km (40 miles) SSW of Kimbe, New Britain, PNG

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place

USGS Shaking map

USGS historic earthquakes map

USGS impact on population map

USGS Seismic hazard map

LIVE PORT MORESBY SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)
GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

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