A series of moderate to strong earthquakes have struck the western Pacific during the past 24 hours. The five quakes, ranging between magnitude 5.0 and 6.7 have struck near Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, and Japan.
In the North Pacific, there have been 21 earthquakes in the Fox Islands part of the Aleutian Islands off Alaska and, in the past hour, two events of magnitude 5.0 and 4.9 in the Galapagos Islands off South America.
The first of the western Pacific quakes to have struck within the last day was a magnitude 6.3 event near Vanuatu. The quake struck at 9:28 last night, Sunday July 15th 2007 NZST, 150 km east of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu at a depth of 46 km.
A magnitude 5.0 quake then struck at a depth of 91 km near Mindanao in the Philippines at 11:12 p.m. It was followed just over an hour later by a 40 km-deep magnitude 5.2 event, also in the Philippines.
A magnitude 5.2 quake struck at a depth of 49 km in the Bougainville region of Papua New Guinea at 5:58 this morning, New Zealand time.
Early this afternoon, a magnitude 6.7 quake struck near the West Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 55 km. The 1:13 p.m. quake was located 65 km south-west of Niigata, Honshu, Japan and has caused landslides, collapsed buildings, damaged roads and bridges, and triggered nuclear reactor shutdowns. One power plant experienced a fire which was, apparently, in electrical plant rather than associated with the reactor. Whilst news media are reporting some deaths, official sources at this early stage report at least 150 injuries. 50 cm tsunami waves were generated near the epicentre.
Earthquake activity in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska has increased dramatically during the past 24 hours, following a magnitude 6.0 quake at 1:08 this morning, New Zealand time. The 21 quakes recorded so far, have ranged between magnitude 2.5 and 6.0, including two 5th magnitude events. Quakes up to magnitude 5.1 have been recorded elsewhere in the Alaskan Peninsula.
[Compiled from data supplied by the US Geological Survey and its contributing agencies.]