Deadly earthquake below Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea - January 22, 2017 only survives with (mostly small) PRIVATE DONATIONS. Your gift will be highly appreciated.


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Update 06:07 UTC : NO serious changes can be seen at the nearest buoy stations.

Update 05:45 UTC : New bulletin of the Pacific Tsunami Warning center - The tsunami risk outside PNG and the Solomon Islands has been lifted. Waves above tides up to 1 meter may still occur at some coastal parts of PNG and the Solomon Islands

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Update 05:41 UTC : Another reader living in Arawa, approx. 50 km (30 miles) from the epicenter (less important at this depth) reports minor damage to his house.

Update 05:38 UTC : One of our readers on Lihir Island (at a distance of 500 km (300 miles) from Bougainville island reports a shaking of approx. 5 minutes!!!!

Update 05:36 UTC : It will take some time before we get news from localities on the island

Update 05:34 UTC : An even more M7.9 dangerous earthquake occurred a little off the the coast in 1975 (can be seen on our bottom map).

Update 05:32 UTC : We expect this earthquake to be felt as far as Australia

Update 05:30 UTC : MMI VIII shaking is expected for approx.  62,000 people

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Update 05:27 UTC : People in this area of the world are used to massive earthquakes and have the great reflex to auto-evacuate to higher grounds when severe shaking is starting. An additional risk with earthquakes of this Magnitude is below water level landslides (seaslides) which are a seldom but existing side effect of massive earthquakes.

Update 05:25 UTC :  Professor Max Wyss, who specializes in theoretical prognoses of injuries and fatalities expects : 0 to 10 fatalities and 0 to 100 injuries, after all a limited impact with the given Magnitude.

Update 05:22 UTC : Based on the data of the PTWC a moderate tsunami is possible with waves not higher than 1 meter. The reason for the limited impact is double : a) an epicenter below land and b) the depth of the hypocenter (breaking point) at + 100 km.

Schermafbeelding 2017-01-22 om 06.21.23-compressed

Update 05:10 UTC : a massive earthquake in this region is not so uncommon and people are more or less used to strong shaking but an M8 is allways something exceptional. A severe shaking is expected in many places on Bougainville Island. The impact on the other islands will be limited except for possible tsunami waves.

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Update 05:08 UTC :  SEVERE shaking expected

Schermafbeelding 2017-01-22 om 06.06.33

Update 05:05 UTC : A massive earthquake but luckily at a depth of + 100 km.

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Panguna, Papua New Guinea, 40.9 km (25.4 mi) WPopulation: 2,916
Arawa, Papua New Guinea, 49.6 km (30.8 mi) WPopulation: 40,266
Buka, Papua New Guinea, 104.8 km (65.1 mi) SSEPopulation: 0
Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, 380.8 km (236.6 mi) ESEPopulation: 26,273
Kimbe, Papua New Guinea, 557.2 km (346.2 mi) EPopulation: 18,847

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 7.9

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2017-01-22 14:30:25

GMT/UTC Time : 2017-01-22 04:30:25

Depth (Hypocenter) : 150 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.

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
PTWC Jan 22 06:41 7.9 0 MAP
EMSC Bougainville Region, P.n.g. Jan 22 05:37 4.7 140 MAP
USGS Arawa, Papua New Guinea Jan 22 05:37 4.6 148 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Solomon Islands Jan 22 05:37 4.9 150 MAP I Felt It INFO
PTWC Jan 22 04:38 8.0 0 MAP
  • Lae - Very strong Earthquake woken me up from bed but no damage to my brick two level home
  • Lihir Island - Earthquake for more than 5 minutes
  • Arawa - Minor damage to house
  • Lihir Putput Plant - there was only light shaking but no damage
  • USGS Panguna, Papua New Guinea Jan 22 04:30 7.9 136 MAP
    GEOFON Solomon Islands Jan 22 04:30 7.8 154 MAP
    EMSC Bougainville Region, P.n.g. Jan 22 04:30 7.9 150 MAP I Felt It INFO
    USGS Arawa, Papua New Guinea Jan 22 04:30 8.0 167 MAP




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    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    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) ?
    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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