On Saturday 26 May 2012, slightly after 11.50 am local time (slightly after 0.50 GMT) the United States Geological Survey recorded an Earthquake in the Loyalty Islands (part of the French territory of New Caledonia) roughly 102 km northeast of Máre Island, at a depth of 10.1 km and measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale. This far from any inhabited area the quake is unlikely to have caused any damage or injuries, and may not have been noticed by anyone.
The location of the 26 May 2012 Earthquake. USGS.
New Caledonia is located on the North Bismarck Plate, one of a series of microplates caught between the Australian and Pacific Plates. To the north of the islands the Pacific Plate is being subducted beneath the North Bismark Plate, causing friction that can cause Earthquakes. As it sinks further into the planet the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior combine to melt the plate, some of the melted material rising through the overlying North Bismarck Plate to feed the volcanoes of the Loyalty Islands.
The location and movement of the North Bismarck and surrounding Plates. Oregon State University.
See also Eruption on Mount Pago, Earthquake in Vanuatu, Earthquake shakes New Britain, Earthquake shakes New Caledonia and Earthquakes on Sciency Thoughts YouTube.
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