List of earthquakes in Vanuatu

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The following is a list of earthquakes near and in the Vanuatu archipelago.

2009[edit]

Earthquakes near Vanuatu, 7–8 October 2009. The circle sizes indicate magnitude and the black line shows the plate boundaries.

Several moderate to major earthquakes affected the vicinity of Vanuatu and also of Santa Cruz Islands between 7 and 8 October 2009. The first earthquake struck at 2203 UTC on 7 October 2009 and measured 7.6 Mw. A tsunami warning was issued for 11 countries throughout the region although this was canceled within two hours after only a minor tsunami formed.[1][2]

The Vanuatu earthquakes occurred on (or near) the boundary of the Australia Plate and the Pacific Plate, and occurred mostly at a depth of 35 kilometers (22 mi). This boundary region is among the most seismically active areas in the world, and Vanuatu is in the region of the Pacific called the "Ring of Fire" that is known for producing dramatic earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other geologic phenomena.[3]

On 7 October 2009 22:03:15 a large 7.6 earthquake occurred (see table below). The initial earthquake was re-designated as a foreshock because it was followed by a shock of 7.8 magnitude 15 minutes later in the same area. Moderate aftershocks occurred and those with magnitude 6.0 or higher are listed below (there were a dozen ranging from 5.0 to 5.8 within the 12 hours following the initial event). Shocks with magnitude 7.0 or higher are highlighted in light blue and the main shock of 7.8 is highlighted in dark blue.

Date
(YYYY-MM-DD)
Time
(UTC)
Latitude Longitude Depth Magnitude Ref
2009-10-07 22:03:15 13.052° S 166.187° W 35 km (22 mi) 7.6 (Mw) [4]
2009-10-07 22:18:26 12.554° S 166.320° W 35 km (22 mi) 7.8 (Mw) [5]
2009-10-07 23:13:49 13.145° S 166.297° W 33 km (21 mi) 7.3 (Mw) [6]
2009-10-08 02:12:39 11.650° S 166.170° W 35 km (22 mi) 6.6 (Mw) [7]
2009-10-08 08:28:49 13.298° S 165.951° W 35 km (22 mi) 6.8 (Mw) [8]
2009-10-08 08:34:38 12.276° S 166.448° W 35 km (22 mi) 6.5 (Mw) [9]
2009-10-08 21:16:12 12.879° S 166.200° W 11 km (7 mi) 6.2 (Mw) [10]

2010[edit]

Vanuatu continued to experience significant earthquake activity in mid-2010. The largest of these included:

  • 28 May 2010, 04:14 AM local time: An earthquake measuring 7.4 occurred at sea 300 miles northwest of Port Vila at a depth of 22 miles. This prompted an immediate tsunami warning, though it was later canceled.[11]
  • 10 August 2010, 16:23 local time: A magnitude 7.3 quake – originally estimated at 7.5-7.6 – struck 22 miles (35 km) west-northwest of Port-Vila at a depth of 22 miles (35 km).[12] Port Vila experienced telephone and power outages as a result, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reported that the quake resulted in a 23-centimeter tsunami at that location.[13]
  • 26 December 2010 at 12:16:37 AM local time: A magnitude 7.3 quake struck 145 km (90 mi) west of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu; it caused a tsunami that was a few inches high but there was no damage.[14]

A few other earthquakes between magnitude 6.0 and 7.0 occurred in June,[15] July,[16][17] August,[18] and September.[19]

2011[edit]

Seven earthquakes, all of which were at least a 6.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, were recorded in 2011:

  • 16 March 2011: A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Vanuatu, but did not cause any damage.
  • 31 July 2011: An undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck near Vanuatu;[20] thus far, there have been no reports of damage, and no tsunami alert has been issued. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday, 31 July 2011, about 226 miles (364 km) east of the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila. It was at a depth of 12.1 miles (19.5 km).
  • 21 August 2011: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Vanuatu at 5 minutes to 4am Local Time.[21] The epicenter was 39 miles south of the capital of Port Vila with a depth of 25 miles according to the U.S. Geological Survey.[22]
  • 25 August 2011: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck ~50 miles southwest of Port-Vila at 10:06 PM Local Time.
  • 26 August 2011: A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck ~85 miles southwest of Port-Vila at 10:36 PM Local Time.
  • 4 September 2011: A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck ~216 miles SSE of Port-Vila at 09:55 AM Local Time.
  • 5 September 2011: A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck ~100 miles SSE of Port-Vila at 08:44 AM Local Time.

2012[edit]

  • 3 February 2012: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck ~ 77 miles W of Port-Vila at 12:34 AM Local Time.[23]
  • 9 March 2012: A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck ~128 miles SE of Port-Vila at 06:09 PM Local Time.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tsunami Advisory". Retrieved 2009-07-10. [dead link]
  2. ^ "New Quakes, Small Tsunami Panic Pacific Islanders". Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Earthquakes Near Vanuatu : Image of the Day". earthobservatory.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  4. ^ "Magnitude 7.7 – Vanuatu". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Magnitude 7.8 – Santa Cruz Islands". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  6. ^ "Magnitude 7.4 – Vanuatu". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  7. ^ "Magnitude 6.6 – Santa Crus Islands". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  8. ^ "Magnitude 6.8 – Vanuatu". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  9. ^ USGS.gov[dead link]
  10. ^ "Magnitude 5.9 – Santa Cruz Islands". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  11. ^ "Tsunami warnings issued after major earthquake off Vanuatu - Thaindian News". Thaindian.com. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  12. ^ "Magnitude 7.3 - VANUATU". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  13. ^ "Earthquake panics Vanuatu residents". 
  14. ^ "Magnitude 7.3 - VANUATU REGION". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Earthquake strikes Vanuatu - World - NZ Herald News". Nzherald.co.nz. 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  16. ^ "Quake strikes off Vanuatu - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  17. ^ "GDACS impact assessment: Green Earthquake alert in Vanuatu". Gdacs.org. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  18. ^ "GDACS impact assessment: Green Earthquake alert in Vanuatu". Gdacs.org. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  19. ^ "Strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake hits off the Vanuatu Islands - Thaindian News". Thaindian.com. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  20. ^ "Vanuatu Earthquake: Magnitude 6.1 Temblor Hits Near Pacific Island". Huffingtonpost.com. 2011-07-31. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  21. ^ "Magnitude 7.1 - VANUATU". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  22. ^ "Powerful earthquake jolts South Pacific near Vanuatu". BBC News. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  23. ^ "Magnitude 7.1 - VANUATU". Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  24. ^ "Magnitude 7.1 - VANUATU". Retrieved 2012-03-08.