Friday, 3 January 2020

Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake beneath Guadalcanal Island, the Solomons.

The United States Geological Survey detected a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake at a depth of 31.5 km, beneath the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons slightly after 0.40 am local time on Friday 3 January 2020 (slightly after 1.40 pm on Thursday 2 December, GMT).There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event.

 The approximate location of the 3 December 2020 Guadacanal Earthquake. USGS.

Guadacanal Island lies on the southern part of the Pacific Plate, close to its boundary with the Australian Plate. The Australian Plate is moving northward relative to the Pacific Plate, and being subducted beneath it, along the Solomon Trench, which runs to the south of Guadacanal Island. This is not a smooth process, and the two plates continuously stick together and then break apart as the pressure builds up, creating shocks which we experience as Earthquakes.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.

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