Written by on . Last updated April 17th, 2024.

Around noon of Friday March 29th, 2024, a shallow and significant Magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit in the North Pacific Ocean 265 kilometer from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Pacific Ocean, 261 kilometers (162 mi) off the coast of Northern Mariana Islands, 265 kilometer north-east of Saipan. 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 29, 2024 12:02 (Saipan Time)
- Mar 29, 2024 02:02 Universal Time.
Location: 265 km NE of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
Coordinates 17°1'26"N 147°21'50"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.1
Detected by 8 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.11 .
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

This earthquake may have been felt in Northern Mariana Islands . Located 265 kilometer (165 mi) north-east of the epicenter of this earthquake, Saipan (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) is the nearest significant population center.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
265 km (165 mi)
SW from epicenter
Saipan

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

5 Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 5 smaller aftershocks occurred. A 5 magnitude earthquake hit 3 hrs later 6 km (3 mi) west of this earthquake.

Before this earthquake struck, 1 smaller foreshock occurred. A 5 magnitude earthquake hit 8 mins earlier nearby.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 5.0 8 mins earlier
Mar 29, 2024 11:54 (Saipan Time)
4 km (2.7 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.1 Mar 29, 2024 12:02
(Saipan Time)
-
Aftershock M 4.5 2 hrs later
Mar 29, 2024 14:18 (Saipan Time)
16 km (10 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.1 3 hrs later
Mar 29, 2024 14:55 (Saipan Time)
28 km (17 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 5.0 3 hrs later
Mar 29, 2024 14:58 (Saipan Time)
6 km (3 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.6 8 hrs later
Mar 29, 2024 19:37 (Saipan Time)
6 km (4 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 22 hrs later
Mar 30, 2024 09:57 (Saipan Time)
15 km (10 mi)
NE 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.

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 January 20th, 2024, when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit 247 km (154 mi) further northwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck on July 29th, 2016.

In total, 59 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 2 months.

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 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 17/04/24 03:18 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000m8p1
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240329_0000009
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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