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Magnitude 7.6 near Irian Jaya, Indonesia

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 10:50:20 (UTC)

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Magnitude 7.6
Time Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 10:50:20 (UTC)
Distance from 55 miles (90 km) south of Manokwari, Indonesia, and 770 miles (1245 km) north-northeast of Darwin, Australia
Coordinates 1 deg. 42.4 min. S ( 1.707S)
134 deg. 9.9 min. E (134.165E)
Depth 10.0 km (6.2 miles)
Quality Error estimate: horizontal +/- 11.5 km; depth fixed by location program
Comments Eight people killed, at least 632 injured, more than 1,000 houses destroyed or severely damaged and about 900 buildings partially damaged in the Manokwari- Oransbari-Ransiki area. Landslides blocked roads in the area. A surface fault 3 km long occurred at Ransiki. Many houses were flooded by a local tsunami with estimated wave heights of 3 to 5 meters at Oransbari and Ransiki and 1 meter at Manokwari. Liquefaction occurred along the coast at Manokwari, Oransbari and Ransiki and subsidence of approximately 2 to 3 meters observed at Oransbari. Felt (IV) at Biak, Sorong and Timika; (III) at Nabire and Wamena.
Tectonic Setting
The earthquake occurred in a five-hundred kilometer wide diffuse plate boundary that accommodates the westerly motion of the Philippine Sea and Caroline plates with respect to the Australian plate. The preliminary epicenter is situated near the northwest-striking Ransiki fault, one of several major faults that have been identified in northwestern New Guinea. The focal mechanism is consistent with the earthquake occurring as right-lateral slip on a northwest-striking fault.
Damaging Historical Seismicity
In the past few decades, several earthquakes in this area have caused human casualties. On September 12th, 1979 a magnitude 7.9 earthquake stuck about 190 km to the east killing 15 people. Damage estimates for this quake ranged from $5 to $25 million. Another quake with a magnitude of 6.3 occurred 330 km to the southeast on September 9th, 1985, and killed at least 10 people. Most recently, a magnitude 6.3 quake, that injured 28 people, occurred 190 km to the east on November 20th 1994. And most recently, on September 8th of this year a magnitude 7.6 struck about 1000 km to the east. This quake killed at least 6 people and generated a one meter tsunami that caused extensive damage to homes on the nearby islands.
Generally, large crustal earthquakes generate significant aftershocks. This event is no exception. Several large aftershocks have already occurred. Usually, the number of aftershocks decays rapidly over the first few days following the mainshock but aftershocks can occur several years later.

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