Sunday 4 June 2017

Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Papua New Guinea.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake at a depth of 193.5 km, on the north coast of Madang Province, Papau New Guinea, slightly before 9.50 am on Saturday 3 June 2017 local time (slightly before 11.50 pm on Friday 2 June GMT). While this is a large Earthquake, the depth at which it occured means it is unlikely to have caused any major damage or casualties, as shockwaves from Earthquakes lose energy as they pass through rock. However people have reported feeling this event from across a wide area of northeast Papua.

The approximate location of the 3 June 2017 Madang Province Earthquake. USGS.

The north coast of Madang Province is located on the southern margin of the South Bismarck Plate, close to its boundary with the Australian Plate, which underlies most of the Papuan mainland. The Australian Plate is being subducted beneath the South Bismarck along the Bismark Range of Mountains in central Papua, this is not a smooth process, with the rocks sticking together, then moving sharply as the pressure builds up enough to break them appart, which can also lead to Earthquakes in the region.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organization 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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