Written by on . Last updated December 8th, 2023.

of , a significant MAG-5.7 earthquake hit in the Coral Sea. Roughly 50 thousand people may have felt this earthquake.

Felt the earthquake? Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn

Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Coral Sea. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 36 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: ( Time)
- Universal Time.
Location: In the Coral Sea
Coordinates 20°28'45"S 169°22'30"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.7
Detected by 36 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.052 .
Depth: 36 km (22 mi)
A quite shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
IV
Light

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 50 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 50 thousand people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is IV, which corresponds with light shaking and likely no damage. Roughly 9,860 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 40 thousand). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. Roughly 40 thousand people were exposed to shaking in Vanuatu , with level IV (light shaking, likely no damage) as the highest recorded. In New Caledonia , around 6 thousand people.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
39,570
III
Weak Probably none
9,860
IV
Light Likely none
0
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

in , is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred () of . experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly IV. That level implies light shaking and likely no damage.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Risk of aftershocks?

We monitor for foreshocks or aftershocks that have a magnitude of 2.5+ and occur within 100km (62 mi) of the epicenter of this earthquake. So far no such earthquakes have been detected.

Aftershocks are usually at least 1 order of magnitude less strong than main shocks. The more time passes, the smaller the chance and likely strength of any potential aftershocks.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since October 29th, 2023, when a 6 magnitude earthquake hit 136 km (84 mi) further north-northwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck on December 5th, 2018.

In total, 58 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.7 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 2 months.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.7. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 36 km (22 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 08/12/23 01:58 (). This article contains currently available information about the earthquake and is automatically composed. We continue to update this article up to a few days after the earthquake occurred.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000l917
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231105_0000169
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn