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

A shallow and significant M5.2 aftershock struck in the North Pacific Ocean 143 kilometer from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands in the morning of Wednesday April 3rd, 2024. Roughly 50 thousand people may have felt this earthquake.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Pacific Ocean, 138 kilometers (86 mi) off the coast of Northern Mariana Islands, 143 kilometer east-northeast 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: Apr 3, 2024 08:16 (Saipan Time)
- Apr 2, 2024 22:16 Universal Time.
Location: 143 km ENE of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
Coordinates 15°53'14"N 146°53'34"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.2
Detected by 8 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.061 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
III
Weak

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually 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.

Roughly 50 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 50 thousand people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

An estimated 16,500 people were exposed to level III. At this level, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. Intensity level II was experienced by the majority of people (around 40 thousand). In their region, very weak shaking and no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Northern Mariana Islands .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
460
I
Not noticable None
36,370
II
Very weak None
16,500
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 Northern Mariana Islands . Located 143 kilometer (89 mi) east-northeast of the epicenter of this earthquake, Saipan (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) is the nearest significant population center. Saipan experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly II. That level implies very weak shaking and no damage.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
143 km (89 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Saipan

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

Earthquake Intensity Map

The intensity in shaking and damage by this earthquake is illustrated through the map below. The highest intensity measured for this earthquake is III.

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.

This is likely an aftershock

Approximately 12 hrs before this earthquake hit, a larger 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck 8 km (5 mi) south-southwest of this one. For that reason, we classify the Mag. 5.2 earthquake as an aftershock.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock M 6.2 Apr 2, 2024 19:54
(Saipan Time)
-
Aftershock
This Earthquake
M 5.2 12 hrs later
Apr 3, 2024 08:16 (Saipan Time)
8 km (5 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).

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. In total, 35 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2 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 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 5.2. 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 22:58 (). 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 us7000m9fv
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240402_0000267
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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