(BIVN) – The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu says there is no tsunami threat to the State or island of Hawaiʻi following a magnitude-7.7 earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands on Thursday evening (Hawaiʻi Standard Time).
The event triggered a Tsunami Threat message from the PTWC for the areas closer to the epicenter, such as Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Zealand.
“Based on all available data a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaiʻi,” the emergency officials reported.
This tectonic summary was provided by the USGS:
The May 19, 2023, M 7.7 earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands occurred as a result of normal faulting near the plate boundary interface between the Australia and Pacific plates. Focal mechanism solutions indicate the earthquake occurred on either a moderately-dipping normal fault striking to the east was or on a moderately-dipping oblique normal and strike-slip fault striking to the southwest. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate converges with the Pacific at a rate of approximately 75 mm/yr. At the South New Hebrides Trench, Australia lithosphere sinks beneath the Pacific plate, descending into the mantle and forming the New Hebrides/Vanuatu subduction zone, stretching from New Caledonia in the south to the Santa Cruz Islands in the north.
While commonly plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are more appropriately described as slip over a larger fault area. Normal faulting events of the size of the May 19, 2023, earthquake are typically about 85×35 km (length x width).
The Loyalty Islands region is very active seismically, and the region within 250 km of the May 19, 2023, earthquake has hosted 13 other M 7+ earthquakes over the preceding 50 years. The largest prior events were an M7.7 on February 10, 2021, and an M 7.7 earthquake on May 16, 1995. Because of their remote locations, earthquakes in this region as less likely to create strong shaking in populated areas.