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

In the evening of Tuesday April 2nd, 2024, an unusually powerful M6.2 earthquake hit in the North Pacific Ocean 137 kilometer from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 50 thousand people.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the North Pacific Ocean, 132 kilometers (82 mi) off the coast of Northern Mariana Islands, 137 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 2, 2024 19:54 (Saipan Time)
- Apr 2, 2024 09:54 Universal Time.
Location: 137 km ENE of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
Coordinates 15°48'58"N 146°51'58"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.2
Detected by 14 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.056 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
IV
Light

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.

Weak shaking and probably no damage may have been experienced by an estimated 53,320 people. At III, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Northern Mariana Islands .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
53,320
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 . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Saipan in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Saipan is located 137 kilometer (85 mi) east-northeast of the epicenter. The intensity of shaking and damage in Saipan is estimated to be around level III on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (weak shaking, probably no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
137 km (85 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Saipan

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.
III
Weak
331 km (206 mi)
SW from epicenter
Yigo Village

Yigo, Guam.
336 km (209 mi)
SW from epicenter
Dededo Village

Dededo, Guam.
343 km (213 mi)
SW from epicenter
Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Village

Tamuning, Guam.
343 km (213 mi)
SW from epicenter
Tamuning

Tamuning, Guam.
345 km (214 mi)
SW from epicenter
Mangilao Village

Mangilao, Guam.
346 km (215 mi)
SW from epicenter
Hagåtña

Hagatna, Guam.
346 km (215 mi)
SW from epicenter
Guam Government House

Hagatna, Guam.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is IV.

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. At a distance of 8 km (5 mi) north-northeast of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 12 hrs later. It measured a magnitude of 5.2

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 6.2 Apr 2, 2024 19:54
(Saipan Time)
-
Aftershock 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).

This is the strongest earthquake in 6 years

Earthquakes of this strength are not so common in the region, but it's not the first time. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since August 28th, 2018, when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit 110 km (68 mi) further north. That was also the heaviest earthquake to hit the region in the past 10 years.

In total, 1 earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 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 10 years.

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 6.2. 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 17/04/24 01:28 (). 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 us7000m9bq
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240402_0000105
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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