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

In the Bismarck Sea 57 kilometer from Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, a shallow and significant Magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred just after midnight of Sunday May 19th, 2024. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 610 thousand people.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Bismarck Sea, 30 kilometers (19 mi) off the coast of Papua New Guinea, 57 kilometer north-northwest of Kokopo in East New Britain. 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: May 19, 2024 00:04 (Port Moresby Time)
- May 18, 2024 14:04 Universal Time.
Location: 57 km NNW of Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
Coordinates 3°50'57"S 152°7'52"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.7
Detected by 35 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.052 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:

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 610 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 610 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 20,420 people were exposed to level V. At this level, moderate shaking and very light damage can be expected. The majority of people (roughly 380 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 Papua New Guinea .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
Not noticable None
Very weak None
Weak Probably none
Light Likely none
Moderate Very light
Strong Light
Very Strong Moderate
Severe Moderate to heavy
Violent Heavy
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in Papua New Guinea . Located 57 kilometer (35 mi) north-northwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, Kokopo (East New Britain, Papua New Guinea) is the nearest significant population center. The intensity of shaking and damage in Kokopo 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)
57 km (35 mi)
SSE from epicenter

East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
291 km (181 mi)
SW from epicenter

West New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
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.

Shaking reported by 2 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 2 people have reported shaking in one place 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:

  • Namatanai, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea: 2 people.

Aftershocks detected

This main shock was prefaced by 2 smaller foreshocks. Roughly 2 days before this earthquake, a foreshock measuring MAG-5.4 was detected nearby this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 5.4 2 days earlier
May 16, 2024 16:31 (Port Moresby Time)
68 km (42 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.5 2 days earlier
May 16, 2024 17:49 (Port Moresby Time)
74 km (46 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.7 May 19, 2024 00:04
(Port Moresby Time)
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 May 1st, 2024, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit 247 km (153 mi) further south-southwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck on December 17th, 2016.

In total, 70 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.7 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.

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 5.7. 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.


Last updated 17/07/24 08:38 (). 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 us6000mzgb
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240518_0000190
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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