Written by on . Last updated May 30th, 2024.

A significant M5.6 earthquake struck under land 11 kilometer from Kimbe in Papua New Guinea deep in the night of Wednesday May 15th, 2024. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 360 thousand people.

Felt the earthquake? Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn

Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Papua New Guinea, 11 kilometer (7 mi) south of Kimbe in West New Britain. The center of this earthquake had an intermediate depth of 121 km.

Date and Time: May 15, 2024 03:15 (Port Moresby Time)
- May 14, 2024 17:15 Universal Time.
Location: 11 km south of Kimbe, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 5°38'51"S 150°9'21"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.6
Detected by 43 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.047 .
Depth: 121 km (75 mi)
An intermediate depth.
Max. Intensity:
V
Moderate

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
Tsunami's are usually caused by MAG-6.5+ earthquakes, less than 100km shallow, and with an epicenter under sea. Neither of this seems to be the case.
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 360 thousand people exposed to shaking

An estimated 360 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.

Light shaking and likely no damage may have been experienced by an estimated 306,400 people. At IV, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. 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
55,440
III
Weak Probably none
306,400
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 . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Kimbe in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Kimbe is located 11 kilometer (7 mi) south 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)
11 km (7 mi)
N from epicenter
Kimbe

West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
IV
Light
275 km (171 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Kokopo

East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
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 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.

Shaking reported by 3 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 3 people have reported shaking in 2 places in Papua New Guinea.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Kimbe, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea: 2 people.
  • Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea: 1 person.

Risk of aftershocks?

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

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.

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 May 1st, 2024, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit 103 km (64 mi) further east. An even stronger magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck on May 5th, 2015.

In total, 88 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 month.

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.

It is very unlikely that this eartquake will cause any tsunami's. The reported magnitude is lower than the MAG-6.5 strength required to cause any earthquakes. In addition, this earthquake was not very shallow and appears to have occurred under land. 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 (11 km from 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 121 km (75 mi). Earthquakes this deep in the earth are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 30/05/24 01:28 (). This article is automatically generated based on available data. We keep checking multiple sources for additional information. This article gets updated as new details on this earthquake become available.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000myk7
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240514_0000189
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn