Written by on . Last updated July 18th, 2024.

In the evening of Saturday July 6th, 2024, a shallow and significant M5.5 earthquake hit in the South China Sea 132 kilometer from Laoag, The Philippines. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 3 million people.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South China Sea, 24 kilometers (15 mi) off the coast of The Philippines, 132 kilometer north-northeast of Laoag in Ilocos. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 17 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jul 6, 2024 06:29PM (Manila Time)
- Jul 6, 2024 10:29 Universal Time.
Location: 132 km NNE of Laoag, Ilocos, The Philippines.
Coordinates 19°14'43"N 121°10'42"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.5
Detected by 31 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.056 .
Depth: 17 km (10 mi)
A very 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 3 million people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 3 million have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is V, which corresponds with moderate shaking and very light damage. Roughly 240 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 2.8 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of The Philippines .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
30,320
II
Very weak None
2,801,000
III
Weak Probably none
208,600
IV
Light Likely none
240
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 The Philippines . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Aparri in Cagayan Valley, The Philippines. Aparri is located 110 kilometer (68 mi) north-northwest of the epicenter. The intensity of shaking and damage in Aparri is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Laoag is located 132 km to the south-southwest and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Tuguegarao is located 190 km to the south-southeast and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Santiago is located 287 km to the south (intensity unknown, possibly low).

An overview of nearby towns and cities is available in the overview below. If places don't have intensity data available, it likely means the experienced impact in those places was fairly small.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
110 km (68 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Aparri

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
IV
Light
132 km (82 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Laoag

Ilocos, The Philippines.
III
Weak
134 km (83 mi)
SSW from epicenter
San Nicolas

Ilocos, The Philippines.
III
Weak
147 km (91 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Batac City

Ilocos, The Philippines.
III
Weak
185 km (115 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Solana

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
III
Weak
190 km (118 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Tuguegarao

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
III
Weak
199 km (124 mi)
S from epicenter
Tabuk

Cordillera, The Philippines.
III
Weak
204 km (127 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Vigan

Ilocos, The Philippines.
III
Weak
211 km (131 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Cabagan

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
241 km (150 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Roxas

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
245 km (152 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Ilagan

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
266 km (165 mi)
S from epicenter
San Mateo

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
267 km (166 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Santa Maria

Ilocos, The Philippines.
268 km (167 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Tagudin

Ilocos, The Philippines.
268 km (167 mi)
S from epicenter
Mankayan

Cordillera, The Philippines.
276 km (171 mi)
S from epicenter
Ramon

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
280 km (174 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Alicia

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
281 km (175 mi)
S from epicenter
Diadi

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
287 km (178 mi)
S from epicenter
Santiago

Cagayan Valley, The Philippines.
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 V.

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 1 person

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 1 person has reported shaking in one place in Philippines.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Namuac, Cagayan Valley, Philippines: 1 person.

Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 1 smaller aftershock occurred. At a distance of 15 km (9 mi) north-east of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 3 mins later. It measured a magnitude of 3.6

In the days before this main shock, 1 smaller foreshock was detected. A 3.2 magnitude earthquake hit 3 days earlier nearby.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.2 3 days earlier
Jul 3, 2024 09:40PM (Manila Time)
69 km (43 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.5 Jul 6, 2024 06:29PM
(Manila Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.6 3 mins later
Jul 6, 2024 06:32PM (Manila Time)
15 km (9 mi)
NE 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?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

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 October 4th, 2023, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 8 km (5 mi) further south-east. An even stronger magnitude 7 earthquake struck on July 27th, 2022.

In total, 19 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.5 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 6 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 5.5. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 17 km (10 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 18/07/24 11:58 (). 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 us7000mxek
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240706_0000093
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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