Magnitude 7.1 - VANUATU

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2012 February 02 13:34:40 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location17.766°S, 167.134°E
Depth23.1 km (14.4 miles)
Distances124 km (77 miles) W of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu
251 km (155 miles) S of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
294 km (182 miles) NW of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu
1803 km (1120 miles) ENE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 13.8 km (8.6 miles); depth +/- 2.7 km (1.7 miles)
ParametersNST=551, Nph=561, Dmin=482 km, Rmss=1.23 sec, Gp= 14°,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=C
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusb0007uiv
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Earthquake Summary

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Tectonic Summary

The February 2, 2012 earthquake near Vanuatu in the southwest Pacific Ocean occurred as a result of oblique-normal faulting within the lithosphere of the Australia plate. The earthquake epicenter is located just 15 km to the west of the New Hebrides Trench, the bathymetric expression of the boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates, where lithosphere of the Australia plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North Fiji Basin. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate moves east-northeast with respect to the Pacific plate at a velocity of approximately 84 mm/yr.

Vanuatu region is familiar with earthquakes of this size – about a dozen earthquakes of M 7 or larger have occurred within 250 km of today’s event over the past 30 years. However, they generally occur on the megathrust interface to the east, and few have been outboard of the trench. A magnitude 7.3 normal faulting earthquake did occur to the west of the New Hebrides Trench, about 225 km to the south of today’s event, on Christmas Day in 2010.

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The earthquake locations and magnitudes cited in NOAA tsunami statements and bulletins are preliminary and are superseded by USGS locations and magnitudes computed using more extensive data sets.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