Strong Quake, Loyalty Islands

A strong undersea earthquake struck the southern Loyalty Islands early this morning, New Zealand time, one of three powerful quakes near equatorial regions.

The magnitude 6.3 quake, which struck at 5:02 a.m. on Sunday the 23rd of November 2008 NZDT, was located 100 km west of Ile Hunter (350 km east-south-east of Tadine in the Loyalty Islands) at a depth of 48 km.

Geoscience Australia reports the quake at magnitude 6.6 at a depth of 45 km. It estimates that shaking would have been felt up to 800 km away, and damage would have been limited to within 66 km of the epicentre.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue a bulletin for the Loyalty Islands quake, but did issue an information bulletin for a magnitude 6.5 quake south of Sumatra that happened half a minute earlier. The quake near Sumatra was one of three strong earthquakes which rippled through equatorial regions in just under three hours. The Sumatra quake was quickly followed by the Loyalty Islands event, with a magnitude 6.2 earthquake striking north of Ascension Island (off Africa’s western coast) at 7:50 a.m.

Moderately powerful aftershocks have followed the events in Sumatra and the Loyalty Islands where two aftershocks have been recorded. A magnitude 5.5 quake struck at 6:23 a.m. and a magnitude 4.9 event at 7:35 a.m. The aftershocks were at depths of 56 km and 35 km respectively.

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

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