Written by on . Last updated February 18th, 2024.

Under land 122 kilometer from Arequipa in Peru, a strong M6.2 earthquake occurred in the morning of Wednesday December 20th, 2023. Around 2.2 million people have been exposed to shaking.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Peru, 122 kilometer (76 mi) west-northwest of Arequipa. The center of this earthquake had an intermediate depth of 93 km.

Date and Time: Dec 20, 2023 07:11 (Lima Time)
- Dec 20, 2023 12:11 Universal Time.
Location: 122 km WNW of Arequipa, Peru.
Coordinates 15°51'51"S 72°32'1"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.2
Detected by 60 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.04 .
Depth: 93 km (58 mi)
An intermediate depth.
Max. Intensity:
VI
Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
While this was a shallow earthquake, it appears to have occurred under land with a magnitude not strong enough to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

The US Geographic Survey (USGS) describes the impact of this earthquake as follows:

Some homes destroyed and landslides blocked roads in Provincia de Castilla. At least 30 homes damaged at Aplao.

Based on scientific estimates by the 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 2.2 million people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 2.2 million have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is V, which corresponds with moderate shaking and very light damage. Roughly 50,690 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level IV was experienced by the majority of people (around 2.1 million). In their region, light shaking and likely no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Peru .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
50,570
III
Weak Probably none
2,071,000
IV
Light Likely none
50,690
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

This earthquake may have been felt in Peru . Located 66 kilometer (41 mi) northwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, El Pedregal (Arequipa, Peru) is the nearest significant population center. The intensity of shaking and damage in El Pedregal is estimated to be around level V on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (moderate shaking, very light damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Arequipa is located 122 km to the east-southeast and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage). Cusco is located 267 km to the north-northeast (intensity unknown, possibly low). Juliaca is located 260 km to the east (intensity unknown, possibly low).

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)
66 km (41 mi)
SE from epicenter
El Pedregal

Arequipa, Peru.
V
Moderate
87 km (54 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Camaná

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
114 km (71 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Cono Norte

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
121 km (75 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Selva Alegre

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
122 km (76 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Arequipa

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
123 km (76 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Jacobo Hunter

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
124 km (77 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Ciudad Satelite

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
140 km (87 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Mollendo

Arequipa, Peru.
IV
Light
170 km (106 mi)
NE from epicenter
Yauri

Cusco, Peru.
IV
Light
226 km (140 mi)
SE from epicenter
Moquegua

Moquegua, Peru.
IV
Light
226 km (140 mi)
NE from epicenter
Sicuani

Cusco, Peru.
III
Weak
228 km (142 mi)
SE from epicenter
San Antonio

Moquegua, Peru.
IV
Light
234 km (145 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Ilo

Moquegua, Peru.
IV
Light
235 km (146 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Ayaviri

Puno, Peru.
251 km (156 mi)
N from epicenter
Abancay

Apurímac, Peru.
260 km (162 mi)
E from epicenter
Juliaca

Puno, Peru.
262 km (163 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Andahuaylas

Apurímac, Peru.
266 km (165 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Santiago

Cusco, Peru.
267 km (166 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Wanchaq

Cusco, Peru.
267 km (166 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Cusco

Cusco, Peru.
269 km (167 mi)
E from epicenter
Puno

Puno, Peru.
282 km (175 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Nazca

Ica, Peru.
285 km (177 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Minas de Marcona

Ica, Peru.
307 km (191 mi)
E from epicenter
Ilave

Puno, Peru.
334 km (208 mi)
N from epicenter
Santa Ana

Cusco, Peru.
341 km (212 mi)
SE from epicenter
Tacna

Tacna, Peru.
352 km (219 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Ayacucho

Ayacucho, Peru.
358 km (222 mi)
ENE from epicenter
La Rinconada

Puno, Peru.
371 km (231 mi)
E from epicenter
Yunguyo

Puno, Peru.
375 km (233 mi)
SE from epicenter
Arica

Arica y Parinacota, Chile.
375 km (233 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Huanta

Ayacucho, Peru.
397 km (247 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Ica

Ica, Peru.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The intensity in shaking and damage by this earthquake is illustrated through the map below. The highest intensity measured for this earthquake is V.

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 30 people in 2 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 30 people have reported shaking in 11 places in 2 countries (Chile, Peru).We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Arequipa, Arequipa, Peru: 13 people.
  • Iquique, Tarapacá, Chile: 4 people.
  • San Luis, Lima Provincias, Peru: 3 people.
  • Nazca, Ica, Peru: 2 people.
  • Moquegua, Moquegua, Peru: 2 people.
  • Camaná, Arequipa, Peru: 1 person.
  • Mollendo, Arequipa, Peru: 1 person.
  • Orcopampa, Arequipa, Peru: 1 person.
  • Lima, Lima Provincias, Peru: 1 person.
  • San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru: 1 person.

2 Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 2 smaller aftershocks occurred. At a distance of 92 km (57 mi) north-northwest of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 3 days later. It measured a magnitude of 4.5

This main shock was prefaced by 2 smaller foreshocks. Nearby this earthquake a foreshock struck 1 day earlier. It measured a magnitude of 3.6

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.6 1 day earlier
Dec 18, 2023 21:52 (Lima Time)
78 km (48 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.5 12 hrs earlier
Dec 19, 2023 18:47 (Lima Time)
58 km (36 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 6.2 Dec 20, 2023 07:11
(Lima Time)
-
Aftershock M 4.0 1 day later
Dec 21, 2023 09:24 (Lima Time)
35 km (22 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 3 days later
Dec 23, 2023 06:26 (Lima Time)
92 km (57 mi)
NNW 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.

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 are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since May 26th, 2022, when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit 263 km (163 mi) further east-northeast. That was also the heaviest earthquake to hit the region in the past 10 years.

In total, 5 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.2 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 2 years.

Tsunami very unlikely

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.

While MAG-6.5+ earthquakes may cause tsunami's, it appears that the epicenter of this earthquake hit under land. In addition, the reported depth is deeper than 100km, making the risk of a tsunami even less likely. However always 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 Not this earthquake.
This earthquake appears to have struck on land far from any coast.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 93 km (58 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 18/02/24 06:28 (). This article is automatically generated based on available data. We keep checking multiple sources for additional information. This article gets updated as new details on this earthquake become available.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000lkb1
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20231220_0000150
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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