Strong Quake Series in Vanuatu

A burst of earthquake activity in the islands of Vanuatu this evening has included a shallow magnitude 6.4 event near Luganville.

The islands of Vanuatu experienced a deep magnitude 6.3 earthquake on the morning of Wednesday the 5th of November 2008, New Zealand time. Since then, the area has been free of major activity until today when a very deep magnitude 5.1 quake struck 125 km south-east of Port Vila just before midday New Zealand time.

The latest sequence of three quakes began this evening at 8:20 p.m. on Friday the 7th of November 2008 NZDT, when a shallow magnitude 6.4 quake struck 120 km north-east of Luganville, Espiritu Santo (320 km north of the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila), at a depth of 35 km. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin at 8:32 p.m. NZDT stating that a widespread tsunami threat did not exist, based on historical data.

Geoscience Australia reports the quake as magnitude 6.7 at a depth of 60 km. It estimates that damage would have occurred within 70 km of the epicentre, and that the event would have been felt up to 900 km away.

The main event was swiftly followed by two quakes of magnitude five. A magnitude 5.4 quake was recorded at 8:36 p.m. NZDT, 105 km north-east of Luganville at a depth of 35 km. Ten minutes later a magnitude 5.3 quake at the same depth struck 110 km east-north-east of Luganville.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia and their contributing agencies.]

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