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

A significant M5.5 earthquake struck in the South Pacific Ocean 152 kilometer from Honiara, Solomon Islands in the evening of Tuesday November 7th, 2023. Roughly 490 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 South Pacific Ocean, right off the coast of Solomon Islands, 152 kilometer north-east of Honiara. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 39 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Nov 7, 2023 18:47 (Guadalcanal Time)
- Nov 7, 2023 07:47 Universal Time.
Location: 152 km NE of Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Coordinates 8°20'46"S 160°47'27"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.5
Detected by 21 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.068 .
Depth: 39 km (24 mi)
A quite shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:

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 490 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 490 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 V, which corresponds with moderate shaking and very light damage. Roughly 17,420 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 260 thousand). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Solomon Islands .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
Not noticable None
Very weak None
Weak Probably none
Light Likely none
Moderate Very light
Strong Light
Very Strong Moderate
Severe Moderate to heavy
Violent Heavy
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in Solomon Islands . Located 152 kilometer (94 mi) north-east of the epicenter of this earthquake, Honiara (Honiara, Solomon Islands) is the nearest significant population center. Honiara experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly III. That level implies weak shaking and probably no damage.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
152 km (94 mi)
SW from epicenter

Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The maximum intensity (MMI Scale) caused by this earthquake is V. The map below shows in which areas this earthquake was the most and least impactful. It is based on data from the US Geographic Survey.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

2 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 2 smaller aftershocks. Just 2 hrs after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-4.7 was detected 24 km (15 mi) east of this earthquake.

This main shock was prefaced by 2 smaller foreshocks. Roughly 16 mins before this earthquake, a foreshock measuring MAG-5.4 was detected nearby this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.9 2 hrs earlier
Nov 7, 2023 16:49 (Guadalcanal Time)
10 km (6 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 5.4 16 mins earlier
Nov 7, 2023 18:30 (Guadalcanal Time)
11 km (7 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.5 Nov 7, 2023 18:47
(Guadalcanal Time)
Aftershock M 4.7 2 hrs later
Nov 7, 2023 21:13 (Guadalcanal Time)
24 km (15 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 10 hrs later
Nov 8, 2023 04:59 (Guadalcanal Time)
28 km (17 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

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.

The chance that a significant earthquake like this one is followed by an even larger earthquake is not so large. On average, scientists estimate a 94% chance that a major earthquake will not be followed by an even larger one. It is still adviced to be aware of this risk

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 28th, 2023, when a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit 217 km (135 mi) further south-southeast. An even stronger magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck on December 8th, 2016.

In total, 48 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.5 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 3 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 5.5. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 39 km (24 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.


Last updated 08/12/23 11:28 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000l9az
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231107_0000084
  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