Western Pacific Earthquakes

Another burst of moderately strong earthquake activity has rippled along the western edge of the Pacific Ocean as far as Alaska during the last 24 hours.

A deep magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck near Vanuatu on the evening of August 14th, New Zealand time. Yesterday, August 15th, a sequence of quakes commenced along the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, with events in the Solomons, New Guinea, the Marianas, Japan and Alaska.

A magnitude 4.7 quake struck the Bougainville region of Papua New Guinea just before 8 o’clock last night, New Zealand time. It was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake in the Rota Region of the Northern Mariana Islands just after 10 p.m. The Solomons recorded a magnitude 5.3 quake at 4:51 this morning and a magnitude 5.4 quake struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at 7:15. A magnitude 6.5 quake in the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutians near Alaska at 10:22 this morning has been followed by a burst of 7 light quakes at various depths.

A similar burst of quake activity rippled through the western edge of the Pacific Ocean on the 15th and 16th of July, when quakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 6.7 struck near Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Japan and the Aleutian Islands.

An interesting aspect of the July event was the two 5th magnitude quakes near the Galapagos Islands off South America, where the Pacific Plate is being pushed westward away from the Cocos and Nazca tectonic plates, that occurred late in the sequence. This spreading zone is where fresh material is rising up from the Earth’s mantle, pushing the plates apart and fueling the movement of the tectonic plates which cause our earthquakes. One event has occurred in the Galapagos Triple Junction region during the latest sequence. The magnitude 4.7 quake struck at 3:49 yesterday afternoon, New Zealand time.

[Compiled from data supplied by the US Geological Survey and its contributing agencies.]

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