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2008 November 16 17:02:32 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location 1.290°N, 122.100°E
Depth30 km (18.6 miles) set by location program
Distances135 km (85 miles) NW of Gorontalo, Sulawesi, Indonesia
310 km (190 miles) W of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
1485 km (920 miles) S of MANILA, Philippines
1890 km (1170 miles) ENE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 5.1 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=321, Nph=321, Dmin=744.3 km, Rmss=1.1 sec, Gp= 32°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=U
Event IDus2008zlbn
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Earthquake Summary

Small globe showing earthquakeSmall map showing earthquake

Earthquake Summary Poster

Felt Reports

At least six people killed, 77 injured, 10,000 people displaced, 1,000 buildings damaged and communications disrupted in the Buol area and in Gorontalo. Felt (VII) at Baolan; (VI) at Gorontalo and Tolitoli; (IV) at Manado and Poso; (III) at Luwuk. Also felt (IV) at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and (II) at Darwin, Australia. Felt at Kolaka, Kuta, Makasar, Palu and Ujung Bulu, Indonesia; Kunak and Sandakan, Malaysia; General Santos and Koronadal, Philippines.

Tectonic Summary

The Sulawesi, Indonesia earthquake of November 16, 2008 occurred as a result of thrust faulting on a plate-boundary that is marked by the North Sulawesi trench, separating the Celebes Sea basin and the Minahassa peninsula. Eastern Indonesia is characterized by complex tectonics in which motions of numerous small plates are accommodating large-scale convergence between the Australia and Eurasia plates. At the location of today's earthquake, the Celebes Sea basin (commonly considered part of the Sunda plate) moves south with respect to the Minahassa peninsula (part of the Molucca Sea plate) at a velocity of about 30 mm/year. The lithosphere of the Celebes Sea basin is thrust beneath that of the Minahassa peninsula and is seismically active to a depth of about 250 km.

The earthquake occurred approximately 25 km off the northern coast of the Minahassa peninsula of the Island of Sulawesi in an area that has seen large earthquakes in the past. For example, a damaging magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred on April 18, 1990 approximately 85 km east of today's earthquake. The magnitude 7.6 earthquake in 1990 was followed a year later by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in approximately the same place. More recently a magnitude 7.0 occurred within 45 km of today's earthquake on November 25, 1997. The 1997 earthquake caused damage to at least 90 building in the Gorontalo area of northern Sulawesi.

Earthquake Information for Asia

Earthquake Information for Indonesia

Tsunami Information

The earthquake locations and magnitudes cited in NOAA tsunami statements and bulletins are preliminary and are superseded by USGS locations and magnitudes computed using more extensive data sets.

General Tsunami Information