Strong Earthquakes Near Vanuatu

A burst of strong earthquake activity struck the vicinity of Vanuatu and the Loyalty Islands overnight. The cluster of 9 earthquakes, which began just before midnight New Zealand time included 3 quakes of 6th magnitude and one event of 7th magnitude before easing just after 4 a.m.

The earthquake activity was centred undersea 70 to 90 km south-west of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu (about 200 km north-east of Tadine in the Loyalty Islands.)

The first event, a magnitude 6.4 quake, struck at 11:13 p.m. on Wednesday the 9th of April 2008 New Zealand time, according to data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by a magnitude 6.3 quake 10 minutes later, and a magnitude 4.9 event at 12 minutes after midnight.

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck at 12:46 and a magnitude 5.2 event at 1:03 a.m. A pair of magnitude 5.4 quakes then struck, the first at 11 minutes after 2 o’clock, the second ten minutes later. At 2:48 a.m. a magnitude 6.0 quake was recorded, and a magnitude 5.1 event at 4:02 a.m.

The U.S. Geological survey has placed all the events at shallow depths of 35 km or less.

Geoscience Australia reports the largest quake at magnitude 7.6 at a depth of 100 km, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) reports the quake as magnitude 7.2 at a depth of less than 100 km. The PTWC issued a bulletin at 1 a.m. advising that a widespread tsunami threat did not exist.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies, Geoscience Australia, and the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.]

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