Massive but deep earthquake below Eastern Papua New Guinea - main concern : landslides

Earthquake overview :A strong but very deep earthquake happened at 03:04 PM (15:04) below eastern Papua New Guinea. The depth of the earthquake will have weakened the shaking even just above the epicenter. Our main concern are possible landslides.
"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Update 14/12 - 09:55 UTC :   TJ Charlton, a person knowing the epicenter area very well, wrote a few minutes ago : Lots of legal and illegal gold mining in the Wau area. I am fearful of avalanches (ER : so are we) and some mine shafts collapsing...I was in Wau just a few months ago. Talk in Wau town (after a phone call) was that "trees were swaying from side to side" during the quake.  (ER : the good news is that the phone was still working)

Update : From James Daniell CATDAT database :
On 26th, February 1963, a M7.3 earthquake, 171km depth struck at -7.5, 146.2 (around 50km west of this epicenter), with only very minor damage reported and intensities of up to 7.
Other earthquakes to have hit the region have occurred in 2001 and 2010, although these are around 80km away, both being M6.2 and only causing minor damage. These were also shallower.
Generally PNG builds of materials that resist earthquakes well and it is unlikely that major damage occurred from this one.

Landscape in the greater area of the epicenter - picture courtesy Grant I. Tebbutt

Update : Mc Adam National park was at a relatively close distance from the epicenter (approx. 40 to 60 km).

Update : The closest settlements are Were Were, Winima, Kaisenik, Kwembu, Kudjeru and Wau

Update : The greater area of the epicenter has almost NO roads but a lot of small settlements . Based on our own experience with PNG earthquakes we do not expect to receive a lot of additional information from the inland settlements. They have NO phone lines (neither fixed or cell) and can mostly be reached by trails or dirt roads only.

Update : A 7.3 earthquake who occurred in 1987 at a distance of 193 km from the current epicenter had NO shaking deaths (focal depth unknown)

Update : USGS is expecting that 506,000 people will have experienced a VI (strong) MMI shaking, 973,000 people a moderate V MMI shaking

Update : WAPMERR, a specialized theoretical damage calculator expects NO fatalities and a max. of 30 injured people as a result of this earthquake.

Update : GDACS, who has great demographic number has calculated that 1,376 people are living within a radius of 10 km. 8,212 within a radius of 20 km and 314,609 within a radius of 100 km from the epicenter.

Update : The exact place of the epicenter is of lesser importance for these deep earthquakes. Even living above the epicenter one can compare it (simplified) with living at 121 km from the epicenter of the earthquake (depth was 121 km)

Update : This was the official NOAA message confirming our own estimate :
BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. REPEAT. A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.

Update : A very strong shaking is not seen as threatening for PNG but remains an awful experience as the houses are shaking, goods are falling from shelves etc. We are NOT too much worried about the faith of the people in the PNG inland (mostly inhabited by primitive tribes) as they have flexible houses except for landslides.
The main concern in this case our the "modern" centers of cities like LAE, were buildings and houses are build out of stones and concrete. These kind of materials are much more vulnerable during earthquakes.

Update : we do thank the PNG people sending us a lot of I Have Felt reports giving us an estimate of the impact of this earthquake. Until now NO damage has been reported

Update : we just got a Felt Report from Lae, a city rather close to the epicenter and it reports : shaking was quite strong and people started running out of buildings

Update : We expect the earthquake to be even felt in northern Australia

Update : USGS has decreased the magnitude from the earlier 7.3 to 7.1, still massive (earthquake-report.com denomination). The focal depth or hypocenter has been increased from 115 km to 121 km. 2 great numbers as they are both expect a weaker impact.

Update : the 2 testimonies below are in line with the theoretical expectations from the seismological agencies

Joe Mageto reports from PNG : The shaking was light, but strong enough to be felt. Most employees where I work had to run outside and stand together at emergency muster points just in case it increased and other aftershocks came.  Apart from that, nothing else was felt up till now - 3:51pm local time.

Jacqui Trusler reports from Port Moresby : About 20 minutes ago, entire house was shaking, nothing broken but a lots of movement.  I live within sight of the ocean, high up on the hill.

Update :  The shaking itself (very weak to weak will have been experienced in a radius of more than 1000 km

Update :  Following theoretical calculations the strong shaking will have been perceived in a radius of 300 km

Update :  We are almost 100% sure that this earthquake will not have "NO shaking fatalities"

Update :  The main problem in this kind of earthquakes can be landslides. Rain forest and hills, mountains can generate a lot of landslides

Update :  The main issue will be the depth of the hypocenter. VI MMI is an acceptable value in PNG. Houses are mostly build of wood or bamboo and have high MMI's.

Update :  Max. MMI will be VI = strong shaking

Update :  a TSUNAMI is NOT awaited as the epicenter of the earthquake is below land

Update : we think the earthquake will have limited impact on the people because it happened 115 km below the sea level

Shaaking map (MMI map) - image courtesy USGS


Earthquake-Report.com GOOGLE+ / Earthquake-Report.com FACEBOOK
"I Have Felt It" reports as received by Earthquake-Report.com
Port Moresby : About 20 minutes ago, entire house was shaking, nothing broken but a lo9t of movement.  I live within sight of the ocean, high up on the hill.
Joe Mageto reports from PNG : The shaking was light, but strong enough to be felt. Most employees where I work had to run outside and stand together at emergency muster points just in case it increased and other aftershocks came.  Apart from that, nothing else was felt up till now - 3:51pm local time.
Lae : shaking was quite strong and people started running out of buildings
Port Moresby : very strong shaking indicated
Port Moresby : It felt like a semi trailer was driving over the roof of our 2 storey building in Port Moresby. The shaking went on for probably 30-40seconds.
Madang : Moderate Shaking about two minutes ago... cupboard doors openend but nothing fell out
Mt. Hagen : Tremor lasting for two minutes occured at 03:06 UTC in Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea
Karkar Island : Light to medium shaking, very noticeable inside with fixtures rattling and quite noticeable outside as well. As my house is a small wooden house on 50cm stilts it was shaking obviously. Medium sized water tank outside shaking enough to spill water. Lasted a few minutes?
Port Moresby : I was in Port Moresby at the time and the building shook weakly for over 40 seconds. It was enough to make my computer screen rattle and I could feel the chair that I was sitting on shaking. People outside the building stated that they could not feel it, only us inside. In Port Moresby we are far from the epicentre. Lots of legal and illegal gold mining in the Wau area. I am fearful of avalanches and some mine shafts collapsing...I was in Wau just a few months ago. Talk in Wau town (after a phone call) was that "trees were swaying from side to side" during the quake. Regards, TJ Charlton.
Port Moresby : Table I was working rocked from side to side at approx 15:00hrs AEST. Another shake of approx same strngth followed 60 secs later. Both shakes lasted 2 secs


Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 7.3  7.1
UTC Time : Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 05:04:56 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 03:04:56 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 115 km  121 km
Geo-location(s) :
89 km (55 miles) SSW of Lae, New Guinea, PNG
123 km (76 miles) ENE of Kerema, New Guinea, PNG

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area.
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
NOAA tsunami report

QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

a

Earthquake-Report.com headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our earthquake-report.com articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : earthquake-report.com news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our http://www.quake-maps.com website

I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται Yo lo he sentido – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه