Poster of the Papua New Guinea Earthquake of 08 September 2002 - Magnitude 7.6

Tectonic Summary

This earthquake occurred in a subduction zone environment near the eastern end of the New Guinea trench off the north-east shore of the island of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea. It resulted from stresses developed by the complex interaction between three tectonic plates, namely the large Pacific and Australian plates and the small Bismarck microplate. Relative to New Guinea, the Pacific plate is moving west - southwest at a rate of about 100 mm per year.

This region has recently suffered several damaging earthquakes. The most significant was on July 17th, 1998; a magnitude 7.0 earthquake generated a tsunami that killed at least 2,183 people and injured thousands.

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