Written by on . Last updated July 7th, 2024.

In the evening of Wednesday May 8th, 2024, a strong M6.1 earthquake hit in the Coral Sea 290 kilometer from Port-Vila, Vanuatu. Around 180 thousand people have been exposed to shaking.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Coral Sea, right off the coast of Vanuatu (6 mi offshore), 290 kilometer north of Port-Vila in Shefa. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 33 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: May 8, 2024 07:17PM (Efate Time)
- May 8, 2024 08:17 Universal Time.
Location: 290 km north of Port-Vila, Shefa, Vanuatu.
Coordinates 15°8'33"S 168°1'30"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 6.1
Detected by 48 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.045 .
Depth: 33 km (21 mi)
A quite shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VI
Strong

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 180 thousand people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 180 thousand have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

An estimated 24,280 people were exposed to level V. At this level, moderate shaking and very light damage can be expected. The majority of people (roughly 150 thousand) live in an area exposed to level IV, where light shaking and likely no damage is expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Vanuatu .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
5,520
III
Weak Probably none
149,800
IV
Light Likely none
24,280
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 Vanuatu . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Port-Vila in Shefa, Vanuatu. Port-Vila is located 290 kilometer (180 mi) north of the epicenter.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
290 km (180 mi)
S from epicenter
Port-Vila

Shefa, Vanuatu.
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 VI.

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.

Shaking reported by 2 people in 2 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 2 people have reported shaking in 2 places in 2 countries (Solomon Islands, Fiji Islands).We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Gizo, Western, Solomon Islands: 1 person.
  • Suva, Central, Fiji Islands: 1 person.

21 Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 21 smaller aftershocks occurred. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit 3 hrs later 20 km (12 mi) south-southeast of this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 6.1 May 8, 2024 07:17PM
(Efate Time)
-
Aftershock M 4.9 8 mins later
May 8, 2024 07:25PM (Efate Time)
36 km (22 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.8 12 mins later
May 8, 2024 07:28PM (Efate Time)
44 km (27 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.9 12 mins later
May 8, 2024 07:29PM (Efate Time)
17 km (11 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.6 46 mins later
May 8, 2024 08:03PM (Efate Time)
22 km (14 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 50 mins later
May 8, 2024 08:07PM (Efate Time)
9 km (6 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 57 mins later
May 8, 2024 08:14PM (Efate Time)
16 km (10 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.8 2 hrs later
May 8, 2024 08:53PM (Efate Time)
8 km (5 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.8 3 hrs later
May 8, 2024 10:04PM (Efate Time)
11 km (7 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 5.4 3 hrs later
May 8, 2024 10:06PM (Efate Time)
20 km (12 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 5.2 4 hrs later
May 8, 2024 10:51PM (Efate Time)
13 km (8 mi)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 4 hrs later
May 8, 2024 11:05PM (Efate Time)
26 km (16 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 4 hrs later
May 8, 2024 11:31PM (Efate Time)
33 km (21 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.7 4 hrs later
May 8, 2024 11:45PM (Efate Time)
10 km (6 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.7 4 hrs later
May 8, 2024 11:45PM (Efate Time)
10 km (6 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.9 5 hrs later
May 9, 2024 12:37AM (Efate Time)
15 km (9 mi)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 10 hrs later
May 9, 2024 05:12AM (Efate Time)
26 km (16 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 15 hrs later
May 9, 2024 10:40AM (Efate Time)
3 km (2 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 18 hrs later
May 9, 2024 01:17PM (Efate Time)
25 km (15 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 5.0 19 hrs later
May 9, 2024 02:08PM (Efate Time)
8 km (5 mi)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.9 2 days later
May 10, 2024 11:50AM (Efate Time)
19 km (12 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.9 2 days later
May 10, 2024 12:21PM (Efate Time)
24 km (15 mi)
ENE 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.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this 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 November 22nd, 2023, when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit 21 km (13 mi) further north-northwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on October 20th, 2015.

In total, 27 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.1 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 5 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 6.1. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 33 km (21 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 07/07/24 06:08 (). 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 us6000mx5c
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240508_0000078
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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