Written by on . Last updated February 28th, 2024.

An unusually powerful MAG-6.5 earthquake struck under land 175 kilometer from Jayapura in Indonesia in the night of Sunday December 31st, 2023. The USGS has indicated there is a potential risk at tsunami's following this earthquake. Another nearby country is Papua New Guinea.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Indonesia, 175 kilometer (109 mi) west-southwest of Jayapura in Papua. 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: Dec 31, 2023 02:16 (Jayapura Time)
- Dec 30, 2023 17:16 Universal Time.
Location: 175 km WSW of Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia.
Coordinates 3°12'18"S 139°17'20"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.5
Detected by 13 stations.
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Tsunami Risk: Potential tsunami risk
The USGS has indicated there is a potential risk at tsunami's following this earthquake.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Potential 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.

There is a potential tsunami risk in the aftermath of this earthquake, immediately evacuate to higher grounds away from coastal areas and monitor advice from local authorities. The US Geographic Survey organization has indicated a potential risk for tsunami's following this earthquake.

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.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5. Earthquakes of this strength could trigger a tsunami. This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Nearby towns and cities

2 countries can be found within 300km of the epicenter of this earthquake: Indonesia and Papua New Guinea .

The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Abepura in Papua, Indonesia. Abepura is located 164 kilometer (102 mi) west-southwest of the epicenter.

An overview of nearby towns and cities is available in the overview below.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
164 km (102 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Abepura

Papua, Indonesia.
175 km (109 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Jayapura

Papua, Indonesia.
421 km (262 mi)
W from epicenter
Nabire

Papua, Indonesia.
484 km (301 mi)
E from epicenter
Wewak

East Sepik, Papua New Guinea.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

19 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 19 smaller aftershocks. A 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit 2 hrs later 28 km (17 mi) north-northeast of this earthquake.

Before this earthquake struck, 2 smaller foreshocks occurred. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit 2 days earlier nearby.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.8 2 days earlier
Dec 28, 2023 21:24 (Jayapura Time)
64 km (40 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.2 2 days earlier
Dec 29, 2023 07:22 (Jayapura Time)
87 km (54 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Main Shock M 6.3 Dec 31, 2023 02:16
(Jayapura Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.6 20 mins later
Dec 31, 2023 02:36 (Jayapura Time)
15 km (10 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 48 mins later
Dec 31, 2023 03:04 (Jayapura Time)
35 km (22 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.9 54 mins later
Dec 31, 2023 03:10 (Jayapura Time)
45 km (28 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 2 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 04:09 (Jayapura Time)
28 km (17 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 2 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 04:33 (Jayapura Time)
27 km (17 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 2 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 04:33 (Jayapura Time)
28 km (17 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 2 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 04:40 (Jayapura Time)
28 km (17 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.7 3 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 04:59 (Jayapura Time)
7 km (5 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 5 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 06:54 (Jayapura Time)
30 km (19 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 6 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 07:46 (Jayapura Time)
72 km (45 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 7 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 09:22 (Jayapura Time)
51 km (32 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.8 7 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 09:23 (Jayapura Time)
52 km (32 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.0 9 hrs later
Dec 31, 2023 10:58 (Jayapura Time)
52 km (32 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.7 1 day later
Jan 1, 2024 06:46 (Jayapura Time)
0.8 km (0.5 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.4 1 day later
Jan 1, 2024 09:34 (Jayapura Time)
55 km (34 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 1 day later
Jan 1, 2024 09:59 (Jayapura Time)
60 km (37 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.5 1 day later
Jan 1, 2024 13:28 (Jayapura Time)
60 km (37 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 2 days later
Jan 2, 2024 03:00 (Jayapura Time)
16 km (10 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 3 days later
Jan 2, 2024 19:48 (Jayapura Time)
56 km (35 mi)
NNE 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?

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).

This is the strongest earthquake in 8 years

Earthquakes of this strength are not so common in the region, but it's not the first time. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since July 27th, 2015, when a 7 magnitude earthquake hit 106 km (66 mi) further northwest. That was also the heaviest earthquake to hit the region in the past 10 years.

In total, 1 earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 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 10 years.

Sources

Last updated 28/02/24 10:28 (). 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 pt23364001
  2. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  3. Google Maps: Static API
  4. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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