Written by on . Last updated June 13th, 2024.

A shallow and significant M5.8 earthquake struck under land 107 kilometer from Kimbe in Papua New Guinea in the morning of Thursday May 2nd, 2024. Around 610 thousand people have been exposed to shaking.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Papua New Guinea, 107 kilometer (66 mi) east-southeast of Kimbe in West New Britain. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 29 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: May 2, 2024 09:45 (Port Moresby Time)
- May 1, 2024 23:45 Universal Time.
Location: 107 km ESE of Kimbe, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 5°48'9"S 151°4'17"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.8
Detected by 36 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.052 .
Depth: 29 km (18 mi)
A quite shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VI
Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
While this was a shallow earthquake in a coastal area, it appears to have occurred under land (17 km from the sea) with a magnitude that is usually not strong enough 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.

Roughly 610 thousand people exposed to shaking

An estimated 610 thousand have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is V, which corresponds with moderate shaking and very light damage. Roughly 23,860 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 350 thousand). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Papua New Guinea .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
350,500
III
Weak Probably none
235,000
IV
Light Likely none
23,860
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 . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Kimbe in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Kimbe is located 107 kilometer (66 mi) east-southeast of the epicenter. The intensity of shaking and damage in Kimbe is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
107 km (66 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Kimbe

West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
IV
Light
210 km (130 mi)
NE from epicenter
Kokopo

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

Earthquake Intensity Map

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

Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 1 smaller aftershock. At a distance of 6 km (4 mi) west of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 4 mins later. It measured a magnitude of 4.9

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.8 May 2, 2024 09:45
(Port Moresby Time)
-
Aftershock M 4.9 4 mins later
May 2, 2024 09:49 (Port Moresby Time)
6 km (4 mi)
W 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.

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 April 14th, 2024, when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit 7 km (4 mi) further south-southeast. An even stronger magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck on May 14th, 2019.

In total, 79 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.8 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.

While MAG-6.5+ earthquakes may cause tsunami's, it appears that the epicenter of this earthquake hit under land. In addition, the reported depth is deeper than 100km, making the risk of a tsunami even less likely. 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 on land near a coastal area (17 km from the sea). Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.8. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 29 km (18 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 13/06/24 03:58 (). 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 us6000mvk5
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240501_0000310
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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