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

In the evening of Friday March 29th, 2024, a significant M5.6 earthquake hit in the Bismarck Sea 127 kilometer from Kimbe, Papua New Guinea. Such earthquakes in regions like this usually have a minimal impact on people and the economy.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Bismarck Sea, 73 kilometers (45 mi) off the coast of Papua New Guinea, 127 kilometer north-northwest of Kimbe in West New Britain. The center of this earthquake had a very deep depth of 577 km. Deep earthquakes usually have less impact than shallower earthquakes of similar strenght.

Date and Time: Mar 29, 2024 19:57 (Port Moresby Time)
- Mar 29, 2024 09:57 Universal Time.
Location: 127 km NNW of Kimbe, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 4°33'28"S 149°34'41"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.6
Detected by 10 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.098 .
Depth: 577 km (358 mi)
A very deep depth.
Max. Intensity:
II
Weak

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 at depths deeper than 100km are very unlikely to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

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 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.

Not many people felt this earthquake

All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Papua New Guinea .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
335,100
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
0
III
Weak Probably none
0
IV
Light Likely none
0
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 Papua New Guinea . Located 127 kilometer (79 mi) north-northwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, Kimbe (West New Britain, Papua New Guinea) is the nearest significant population center. The intensity of shaking and damage in Kimbe is estimated to be around level I on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (not noticeable, no damage).

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
127 km (79 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Kimbe

West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
I
Not felt
299 km (186 mi)
E from epicenter
Kokopo

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

Earthquake Intensity Map

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

Risk of aftershocks?

This earthquake did not have any significant foreshocks nor aftershocks occurring within 100km (62 mi) of its epicenter.

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

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 March 13th, 2024, when a 6 magnitude earthquake hit 188 km (117 mi) further south-east. An even stronger magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck on May 5th, 2015.

In total, 81 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 2 months.

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.

For a serious tsunami to occur, earthquakes usually need to have a magnitude of at least 6.5 and occur at a shallow depth of maximum 100km. Neither are the case with this earthquake. 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 This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of 577 km (358 mi). Earthquakes this deep in the earth are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 16/04/24 11:18 (). 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 us7000m8qr
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240329_0000112
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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