Wednesday, October 16, 2013

7.1 Magnitude Quake Strikes Near Papua New Guinea and Bougainville

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the autonomous region of Bougainville, East of Papua New Guinea, and is begin followed by multiple aftershocks. The quake's epicenter is about 30 miles (48km) from the volcano of Bagana, Bougainville's most active volcano.

The quakes proximity to multiple volcanoes on this island, such as Billy Mitchell (yes, that is the volcanoes name!), Tore, Balbi, Loloru, and the Takuan Group could initiate a change in behavior for any one of these volcanoes, although more likely, it will result in changes mostly at Bagana.

Bagana is frequently in eruption, and is a 'usual offender' on the Smithsonain GVP's weekly volcanic activity updates.

Image from Google Earth With USGS quake overlay and shakemap.
No fatalities or injuries have yet been reported, and no tsunami warning has been issued.

Earthquakes in Bougainville are very common, and their structures are likely built to withstand very strong tremors. Earthquakes that occur in imporverished nations, or in areas of the world without a history of frequent quakes, are often far more vulnerable than places like Bougainville, or California, who have very frequent quakes and are used to shoring up their structures and policies to mitigate their effects.

A 7.1 magnitude quake struck the Philippines within the last couple of days, and that quake did result in fatalities, numbering around 100 at the time of this update.

Larger than normal quakes seem to be a running theme this year, and volcanic eruptions less so. 

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