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Strong 7.8M Seismic Event w/aftershocks strikes Solomon Islands Region


The earthquake occurred in Solomon Islands , 68km WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Is. (population 366,000) . On 2016-12-08  at 17:38:46 UTC. Depth was 41.0km. The maximum altitude nearby is 1244m .

Event Map: M7.8 - 68km WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands On 2016-12-08 at 17:38:46 UTC.

Event Map: M7.8 – 68km WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands On 2016-12-08 at 17:38:46 UTC. This is a product of the GEOFON Extended Virtual Network (GEVN) and credit belongs to all involved institutions.

7.8 magnitude earthquake near Kirakira, Makira, Solomon Islands


Recent Earthquakes Near Solomon Islands

IRIS Interactive Earthquake Browser

Western-Pacific –  Solomon Islands | Mwaniwowo, Kirakira
Location: 68km WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
Magnitude: 7.8
Time: 2016-12-08  at 17:38:46 UTC
Epicenter: 10°39’54.0″S 161°20’06.0″E
Depth: 41.0km (25.4mi) Deep
Area affected by light damage (estimated radius): 123 km (MMI VI)

USGS Interactive Map

USGS ShakeMap

IRIS mww 7.8 Solomon Islands

Tsunami Statement Issued


The maximum Tsunami wave height is 1.7m in Brenwe, Vanuatu. This height is estimated for 08 Dec 2016 17:54:00.

Tsunami animation

Tsunami maximum wave height


209 km SE of Honiara, Solomon Islands / pop: 56,300 / local time: 04:38:46.9 2016-12-09
68 km SW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands / pop: 1,200 / local time: 04:38:46.9 2016-12-09

Tectonic Summary (USGS)

The December 8, 2016, M 7.8 Solomon Islands earthquake occurred as the result of shallow, slightly oblique reverse faulting on or near the plate boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates. Focal mechanism solutions indicate that rupture occurred on either a northwest or north-south-striking, moderately dipping reverse fault. At the location of the earthquake, the Australia plate subducts beneath the Pacific plate towards the east-northeast at a velocity of about 96 mm/yr. The location, depth, and focal mechanism solutions of the December 8th earthquake are consistent with its relation to under-thrusting of the Australia plate beneath the Pacific plate (the northwest-striking plane of the focal mechanism solution).

While commonly plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are more appropriately described as slip over a larger fault area. Reverse faulting events of the size of the December 8, 2016 earthquake are typically about 120×55 km (length x width).

The December 8th earthquake occurred about 100 km northwest of where the Australia:Pacific plate boundary transitions from thrust to transform tectonics between the New Britain Trench to the northwest and the New Hebrides Trench farther east. A pair of large earthquakes (M 7.6 and M 7.4) occurred in that plate boundary transition region in April 2014. More broadly, the Solomon Islands Arc is very seismically active, with 53 earthquakes of M 6.5+ occurring within 250 km of the December 8th event over the preceding century. The largest of these was a M 7.9 earthquake about 50 km to the southwest in October 1931, near the New Britain Trench. In 1979, a M 7.1 earthquake occurred in an almost identical location (8 km northwest) to the December 8, 2016 event. None of these historic earthquakes are known to have caused shaking-related fatalities, likely because of their remote location far from population centers that might be vulnerable to earthquake shaking.

More Information:

GeoForschungsZentrum (GEOFON) Potsdam, Germany
Japan Meteorological Agency  Tokyo, Japan
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center  Hawaii, USA
European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), European Seismological Commission (ESC)

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