March 9, 2012 – A 6.7 Magnitude Earthquake Struck near Vanuatu: The South Pacific Ocean saw another earthquake, with a 6.7 magnitude tremor striking at 6:09PM local time; at a depth of 32 kilometers (20 miles). The quake was 37 miles northeast of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu; 128 miles southeast of Port-Vila, Efate, Vanuatu; 201 miles northeast of Tadine, the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia and 1,201 miles ENE of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (see map above).
The map (below) shows the location of today’s quake (cross hairs and circle) and other recent tremors by depth (colors) and magnitude (diameter of the circles). New Caledonia (a French Protectorate) is shown to the southwest of the epicenter.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) stated that, based upon historical records and analyzed data of the latest event, no wide-spread tsunami is expected. However, local destructive tsunamis are possible within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the epicenter. Therefore, Isangel and Port-Vila; Vanuatu; should be on the alert for local damaging tsunamis.
The trembler occurred at 2:09AM in New York, 1:09AM in Chicago, 12:09AM in Denver and 11:09PM (March 8th) in Los Angeles.
Today’s earthquake is shown on the world map (below) from the USGS. Number 1 (star shaped) is today’s Vanuatu 6.7M quake, #3 is a Feb. 24, 2012 earthquake near the summit region of the Hawaiian Kilauea volcano and #5 is the Feb. 14, 2012 Solomon Islands tremor:
My oldest son and his wife were in the Peace Corps during the November 11, 1999 7.5 magnitude earthquake. I had the following conversation with him about that event:
Jason: Do you see an earthquake of 7.3 in Vanuatu in 1999, around September I think? We were there for that one. We were in the Peace Corps training on the island of Epi at the time.
W. G. Foster: Yes, I found that one in my NOAA earthquake database. Here is a Google Earthquake map of that event:
Jason: Yep, that’s it all right. And if I remember right, we were near Lamen Bay on the Northwest of the island of Epi. So not far at all from the quake! We were asleep in our hut at the time, and everything started rocking in motions that felt like 4 foot waves on the land.
W. G. Foster: That quake occurred on November 26, 1999 (incorrectly shown as November 11th on the above map) near Pentecost, in the Vanuatu Islands. Note: Jason and his wife were south of that (see map). That tremor killed five and injured 100 near the epicenter.
Note: Jason is now an attorney at the World Court in the Hague Netherlands.
It should be remembered that this is the one year aniversary of the three large Japanese earthquakes, which (in highsight) were the precursors to the mega-quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The three quakes that hit Japan on March 9, 2011 were a 7.3M, then about 15 hours later a 6.0, followed three hours later by a 6.4M. On March 11st, we had the 9.0M mega-quake – followed by 41 tremors greater than or equal to 6.0M, including one 7.9M and one 7.7M. Based upon this, I would look for a very large earthquake event in two days, which is Sunday March 11, 2012. (Credits: NOAA, USGS, Google Earth, W. G. Foster).
The Master of Disaster