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

A significant MAG-5.1 earthquake struck in the Bismarck Sea 16 kilometer from Madang, Papua New Guinea deep in the night of Wednesday March 27th, 2024.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Bismarck Sea, right off the coast of Papua New Guinea (9 mi offshore), 16 kilometer south-east of Madang. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 70 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Mar 27, 2024 03:49 (Port Moresby Time)
- Mar 26, 2024 17:49 Universal Time.
Location: 16 km SE of Madang, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 5°19'53"S 145°52'38"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.1
Detected by 18 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.073 .
Depth: 70 km (43 mi)
A quite 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

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 16 kilometer (10 mi) south-east of the epicenter.

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

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
16 km (10 mi)
NW from epicenter

Madang, Papua New Guinea.
100 km (62 mi)
SSW from epicenter

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea.
191 km (119 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Mount Hagen

Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea.
198 km (123 mi)
SE from epicenter

Morobe, Papua New Guinea.
225 km (140 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.

Shaking reported by 3 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 3 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:

  • Goroka, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.
  • Kainantu, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.
  • Mount Hagen, Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.

Aftershocks detected

In the days before this main shock, 1 smaller foreshock was detected. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit 2 days earlier nearby.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.2 2 days earlier
Mar 25, 2024 11:27 (Port Moresby Time)
59 km (37 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.1 Mar 27, 2024 03:49
(Port Moresby 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?

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

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 happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since January 27th, 2024, when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit 127 km (79 mi) further east. An even stronger magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck on September 10th, 2022.

In total, 129 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.1 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 5.1. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 70 km (43 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.


Last updated 16/04/24 20:08 (). 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 us7000m845
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240326_0000226
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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