Strong Quake, Loyalty Islands

A strong, shallow earthquake struck the Loyalty Islands this evening, New Zealand time.

Thursday, 15th January 2009 NZDT

The magnitude 6.8 earthquake, which struck at 8:27 p.m. New Zealand Daylight Time, was located 160 km west of Ile Hunter, 290 km east-south-east of Tadine in the Loyalty Islands at a depth of 52 km; according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Analysis by Geoscience Australia also lists the quake at magnitude 6.8 in a similar location but at the shallower depth of 7 km. Surprisingly, their report indicates that such a shallow quake would only have caused damage within 80 km of the epicentre, but would have been felt up to 1,000 km away.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin for the quake at 8:40 p.m. NZDT reporting the quake as magnitude 6.8 but at a standard depth of 33 km. The bulletin advised that “no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical and tsunami data.”

[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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