Earthquakes Near Vanuatu

A series of three earthquakes have struck northern Vanuatu during the past day. The quakes, at varying depths, have been located within 90 km of Luganville, Espiritu Santo.

The series of quakes began with a magnitude 5.7 earthquake which struck at 9:34 p.m. New Zealand time on Tuesday the 5th of June 2007. The quake was located 90 km NNW of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu at a depth of 52 km .

Ten minutes later, a magnitude 4.9 quake struck 85 km NNW of Luganville at a depth of 59 km.

The third event struck at 4:16 this morning, June 6th, New Zealand time. The magnitude 4.6 quake was located 85 km NNW of Luganville at a depth of 35 km.

The quakes have been occurring about 360 km NNW of Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila.

At this early stage, it appears that the three quakes could be a typical mainshock-aftershock sequence, owing to their close proximity and the decreasing magnitudes of the events. However, the close range of magnitudes and varying depths don’t closely match expected behaviour for aftershocks.

Three very deep earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.1 and 5.2 have been recorded in the Fiji region during the past week. Meanwhile, the shallow activity near Tonga has eased, with one deep magnitude 4.9 quake being reported on Sunday June 3rd.

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

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