According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) earthquake report, we witnessed 1161 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 and above in December 20221, which is 241 earthquakes less than in November. In our previous blog, you can read more about the largest earthquakes in November 2022 here.
Among the earthquakes that occurred in December 2022, there were none with a magnitude of 7.0 or above, 5 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 and above, as well as 152 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 and above.
According to the EMSC, the largest earthquakes in December 2022 were the following:
The 6.7 earthquake in Tonga on the 4th of December;
The 6.4 earthquake offshore of Northern California on the 20th of December;
The 6.3 earthquake in Alaska offshore of the Rat Island group in the Aleutian Islands on the 14th of December;
The 6.0 earthquake in Guerrero, Mexico on the 11th of December;
The 6.0 earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands on the 28th of December.
The largest earthquake in December was the magnitude 6.7 earthquake between American Samoa and Tonga. It occurred on the 4th of December at a depth of 10 km. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries, according to local media, and a tsunami warning was lifted. The area still lives under the fear of consequences from earthquakes, since last month, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the archipelago, causing significant material damage as a result of the consequent tsunami2.
Another strong seismic event of the previous month was the 6.4 earthquake that occurred on the 20th of December at 2:34 a.m. local time in offshore Northern California at a depth of 17 km. It caused widespread damage to roadways, ruptured gas lines, causing leaks; one building caught fire, and two others collapsed, in addition to injuring more than ten people and killing two3.
Authorities have closed several roads and warned the public to brace for aftershocks. The earthquake spawned up to 80 smaller earthquakes between magnitude 2.5 and 4.6, according to the USGS.
Last but not least, major damage was also reported from the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that occurred on the 11th of December at 08:31 local time, at a depth of 20 km in Guerrero, southern Mexico. It affected the city of Técpan de Galeana, causing damage to buildings and leaving the municipality without electricity for several hours4.
Now that the year 2022 has passed, let us examine which month had the most earthquakes and which had the least.
From the table above, based on the data provided by EMSC, we can conclude that we witnessed the most above magnitude 4.0 earthquakes in January (7867), September (7780), and March (7763). The least amount of earthquakes above magnitude 4.0 were witnessed in February (6743), June (7118), and July (7746).
However, we witnessed the most earthquakes with a magnitude above 6.0 in September (21), November (21), and January (19), while we witnessed the least number of earthquakes above magnitude 6.0 in August (4), June (5), and December (6).
1) EMSC. Search for earthquakes. Accessed on 04-Jan-2023. Available at: https://www.emsc.eu/Earthquake/?filter=yes
2) Sharma, Akriti. 2022. American Samoa tsunami warning lifted after 6.7 quake. Accessed on 04-Jan-2023. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/magnitude-69-quake-strikes-off-apia-samoa-usgs-2022-12-04/
3) Reuters. 2022. Deadly California earthquake leaves thousands without power. Accessed on 04-Jan-2023. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64046462
4) NMAS. 2022. Sismo Causó Daños Materiales en Técpan de Galeana, Guerrero. Accessed on 04-Jan-2023. Available at: https://www.nmas.com.mx/foro-tv/programas/las-noticias-2100/videos/sismo-causo-danos-materiales-tecpan-galeana-guerrero