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

In the evening of Thursday November 9th, 2023, a shallow and significant M5.2 earthquake hit in the South Pacific Ocean 203 kilometer from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Samoa is also near its epicenter.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 194 kilometers (120 mi) off the coast of American Samoa, 203 kilometer southwest of Pago Pago in Eastern District. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Nov 9, 2023 19:45 (Pago Pago Time)
- Nov 10, 2023 06:45 Universal Time.
Location: 217 km south of Apia, Tuamasaga, Samoa.
Coordinates 15°47'21"S 171°45'55"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.2
Detected by 88 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.061 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Nearby towns and cities

2 countries can be found within 300km of the epicenter of this earthquake: American Samoa and Samoa .

The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Pago Pago in Eastern District, American Samoa. Pago Pago is located 203 kilometer (126 mi) southwest of the epicenter.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
203 km (126 mi)
NE from epicenter
Pago Pago

Eastern District, American Samoa.
217 km (135 mi)
N from epicenter

Tuamasaga, Samoa.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Aftershocks detected

Before this earthquake struck, 1 smaller foreshock occurred. Nearby this earthquake a foreshock struck 1 day earlier. It measured a magnitude of 4.8

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.8 1 day earlier
Nov 8, 2023 13:52 (Pago Pago Time)
97 km (60 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.2 Nov 9, 2023 19:45
(Pago Pago Time)
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

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 27th, 2023, when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit 290 km (180 mi) further southwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck on May 10th, 2023.

In total, 129 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2 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 28 days.

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 5.2. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.


Last updated 08/12/23 10:18 (). 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 us7000la04
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231110_0000077
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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