The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake at a depth of 49.4 km, roughly 10 km of the southwest coast of Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, at 3.30 pm local time (4.30 am GMT) on Monday 2 September 2013. An Earthquake of this size has the potential to inflict substantial damage to the southern part of the Island, but there are no reports of any damage or casualties on this occasion.
The approximate location of the 2 September 2013 Bougainville Earthquake. Google Maps.
Bougainville Island lies on the southern fringe of the Pacific Plate. To the south of the island the Solomon Sea Plate is being subducted beneath the Pacific Plate along the Bougainville Trench, passing under the island of Bougainville as it sinks into the Earth. This is not a smooth process; the rocks of the two plates constantly stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes in the process.
See also Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake beneath western New Britain, Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake off the coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea, Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake under West Papua, Eruption on Mount Langila and Major Earthquake shakes New Ireland & New Britain.
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