Wednesday, February 6, 2013

5 dead after powerful quake strikes in South Pacific- Tsunami Warnings Cancelled - CNN


5 dead after powerful quake strikes in South Pacific

By CNN Staff
updated 5:30 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Map: Solomon Islands
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Five people die after a tsunami hits an eastern area of the Solomon Islands
  • The 8.0-magnitude quake struck off the Santa Cruz Islands, part of the Solomons
  • Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancels all tsunami alerts for the region
(CNN) -- An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami that killed five people but didn't threaten the wider region.
Four elderly people and one child died after the roughly 1-meter (3-feet) high wave hit the Santa Cruz Islands, an eastern region of the Solomon Islands, said Augustine Bilve, a director at a hospital in Lata, the main town in the area.

The strong waves appeared to have caused damage and disruption at the local airport and nearby villages.
Bilve said that some patients were being relocated, but the hospital was intact.
"Our staff in Temotu province felt the quake and within five minutes there were a number of wave surges, which flooded the runway there," said Andrew Catford, the program director in the Solomon Islands for the humanitarian group World Vision.

 
 

 
 
Temotu province is another name for the Santa Cruz Islands.

World Vision said it was still trying to gauge the damage from the tsunami in the area, adding that "it is likely that several villages close to the airport have been severely impacted."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially issued a tsunami warning for several countries in the area, including Papua New Guinea and Fiji. But the center later canceled the alert after reassessing the relevant data.
It also called off a tsunami watch it had sent out for a larger number of countries in the region such as New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.

The center of the quake was located near the Santa Cruz Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. It was initially reported to be 3.6 miles deep, but that was later revised to a depth of 17.8 miles.

Precautionary measures taken in the region
Authorities elsewhere in the region took precautionary measures following news of the quake.
The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management warned people along certain areas of the country's west coast to stay out of the water and away from the shore.
Japanese authorities issued advisories that small sea level changes could affect the country's entire eastern coastline Wednesday.

The New Caledonia High Commission in the capital of Noumea ordered the immediate evacuation of coastal residents on the eastern coast of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.
The main quake was preceded by a 6.3-magnitude quake in the region and was followed by several others, the largest of which had a magnitude of 6.6, the USGS said.

In 2007, an 8.1-magnitude quake struck in the western part of the Solomon Islands, setting off a tsunami. At least 52 people died as a result of the disaster and thousands of others were left homeless.

CNN's Sarita Harilela, Jethro Mullen and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.


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M8.0 - SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS 2013-02-06 01:12:27 UTC

Summary

Location and Magnitude contributed by: USGS, NEIC, Golden, Colorado (and predecessors)

General

1000 km
1000 mi
Powered by Leaflet
10.738°S, 165.138°E
Depth: 28.7km (17.8mi)

Event Time

  1. 2013-02-06 01:12:27 UTC
  2. 2013-02-05 19:12:27 UTC-06:00 system time

Location

10.738°S 165.138°E depth=28.7km (17.8mi)

Tectonic Summary

The February 6th, 2013 M 8.0 earthquake in the Santa Cruz Islands occurred as a result of shallow thrust faulting on or near the plate boundary interface between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of this earthquake, the Australia plate converges with and subducts beneath the Pacific plate, moving towards the east-northeast at a rate of approximately 94 mm/yr.
The February 6th earthquake is located approximately 700-750 km ESE of the Mw 8.1 Solomon Islands earthquake of April 1, 2007, and the Mw 7.1 Solomon Island earthquake of January 3, 2010. It is over 900 km to NNW of the February 2, 2012 Mw 7.1 Vanuatu earthquake, and approximately 200-300 km north of a series of earthquakes in October, 2009 along the Vanuatu Trench that included two earthquakes larger than magnitude 7 (Mw 7.8, Mw 7.4).
This earthquake is located adjacent to a complex section of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary, where the Solomon Trench to the west is linked to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) Trench to the south by a short segment of dominantly strike-slip plate motion. The February 6th earthquake is located at the northern end of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) segment. To the north and west of this event, the plate boundary changes in character, is oriented more west-to-east, and connects the segment ruptured by this event with the continuation of the subduction zone along the Solomon Islands.
Over the month leading up to the February 6th earthquake, there have been dozens of earthquakes in the epicentral region – over 40 M4.5 or larger in the preceding 7 days alone, 7 of which were larger than M6. Faulting mechanisms for these earthquakes suggest a mixture of strike-slip, normal and thrust faulting events. Within an hour of the February 6th M8.0 mainshock, there were also two large aftershocks with magnitudes greater than M6. See a map of current aftershocks here.

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