Written by on . Last updated April 16th, 2024.

A shallow and significant MAG-5.6 earthquake struck under land 245 kilometer from Nagqu in China in the evening of Thursday March 7th, 2024. Earthquakes like this can cause significant economic damage but are usually unlikely to result on large numbers of fatalities.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in China, 245 kilometer (152 mi) north-northeast of Nagqu in Tibet. 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: Mar 7, 2024 18:06 (Shanghai Time)
- Mar 7, 2024 10:06 Universal Time.
Location: 245 km NNE of Nagqu, Tibet, China.
Coordinates 33°32'2"N 92°59'39"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.6
Detected by 12 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.089 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VIII
Severe

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.

Significant economic impact

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 YELLOW (significant). They expect an 33% likelyhood of between 1 and 10 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 97% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 1,000 million USD.

Roughly 260 thousand people exposed to shaking

An estimated 260 thousand have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

An estimated 370 people were exposed to level VII. At this level, very strong shaking and likely moderate damage can be expected. The majority of people (roughly 210 thousand) live in an area exposed to level III, where weak shaking and probably no damage is expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of China .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
730
II
Very weak None
209,100
III
Weak Probably none
46,430
IV
Light Likely none
2,780
V
Moderate Very light
1,410
VI
Strong Light
370
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 China . Located 245 kilometer (152 mi) north-northeast of the epicenter of this earthquake, Nagqu (Tibet, China) is the nearest significant population center.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
245 km (152 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Nagqu

Tibet, China.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The maximum intensity (MMI Scale) caused by this earthquake is VII. 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.

Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 1 smaller aftershock. Just 3 mins after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-5 was detected 22 km (13 mi) southwest of this earthquake.

This main shock was prefaced by 1 smaller foreshock. Nearby this earthquake a foreshock struck 2 days earlier. It measured a magnitude of 5.4

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 5.4 2 days earlier
Mar 5, 2024 10:07 (Shanghai Time)
7 km (4 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.6 Mar 7, 2024 18:06
(Shanghai Time)
-
Aftershock M 5.0 3 mins later
Mar 7, 2024 18:09 (Shanghai Time)
22 km (13 mi)
SW 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).

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 August 14th, 2022, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 50 km (31 mi) further south-southwest. An even stronger magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck on October 17th, 2016.

In total, 3 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.6 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 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 5.6. 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.

Sources

Last updated 16/04/24 07:28 (). 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 us7000m3ur
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240307_0000134
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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