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

In the Bismarck Sea 30 kilometer from Madang, Papua New Guinea, a significant MAG-5.4 earthquake occurred in the early morning of Friday November 10th, 2023. Roughly 2.9 million people may have felt this earthquake.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Bismarck Sea, right off the coast of Papua New Guinea (1 mi offshore), 30 kilometer south-southeast of Madang. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 64 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Nov 10, 2023 06:53 (Port Moresby Time)
- Nov 9, 2023 20:53 Universal Time.
Location: 30 km SSE of Madang, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 5°27'24"S 145°55'16"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.4
Detected by 20 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.069 .
Depth: 64 km (39 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 2.9 million people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 2.9 million 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 830,300 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 2.1 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Papua New Guinea .

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 Papua New Guinea . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Madang in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Madang is located 30 kilometer (19 mi) south-southeast of the epicenter. The intensity of shaking and damage in Madang is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
30 km (19 mi)
NNW from epicenter

Madang, Papua New Guinea.
92 km (57 mi)
SW from epicenter

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea.
184 km (114 mi)
SE from epicenter

Morobe, Papua New Guinea.
192 km (119 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Mount Hagen

Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea.
210 km (130 mi)
SSE from epicenter

Morobe, Papua New Guinea.
262 km (163 mi)
WSW from epicenter

Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is IV.

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.

Shaking reported by 6 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 6 people have reported shaking in 3 places, all within Papua New Guinea.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Madang, Madang, Papua New Guinea: 4 people.
  • Goroka, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.
  • Lae, Morobe, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.

Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 1 smaller aftershock occurred. At a distance of 4 km (2.5 mi) west-northwest of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 4 hrs later. It measured a magnitude of 5

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.4 Nov 10, 2023 06:53
(Port Moresby Time)
Aftershock M 5.0 4 hrs later
Nov 10, 2023 11:06 (Port Moresby Time)
4 km (2.5 mi)
WNW 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?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

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 7th, 2023, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 22 km (14 mi) further south. An even stronger magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck on September 10th, 2022.

In total, 78 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.4 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 5.4. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 64 km (39 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.


Last updated 08/12/23 01:38 (). 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 us7000l9xx
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231109_0000264
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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