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Largest Earthquakes in February 2022

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake report in February 2022 we witnessed 975 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 or more. Among them, 835 were of magnitude between 4 to 4.9, 131 of magnitude from 5.0 to 5.9, and 9 of magnitude 6 or more1.

The strongest earthquake occurred in the Tonga region, south of the Fiji Islands, with a magnitude of 6.8 at a depth of 545 km. Luckily, no fatalities were reported. Tonga is a seismically very active region. It sits at the junction of two major tectonic plates: the overriding Indo-Australian plate in the west and the descending Pacific plate in the east. In the past, the Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generated many large earthquakes. Motions of these two tectonic plates have created one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Every year, there are approximately 200 known earthquakes near Tonga2.

Tonga_Earthquake

The second largest earthquake in February was of a magnitude 6.5 in Loreto, Peru, which occurred 110 km deep. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed, while no fatalities were reported. Earthquakes in Peru are common within the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the interface between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, where 85% of the planet's seismic activity takes place3.

Peru_Earthquake

The deadliest earthquake in February was of a magnitude of 6.2 and occurred in Sumatra, Indonesia. Authorities reported that the 12.3 km deep earthquake caused 14 fatalities and injured around 400 people4. It also damaged or destroyed many buildings, including a mosque and a school in West Sumatra. Indonesia is at the center of a complex tectonic zone where the Pacific, Eurasian, and Indo-Australian plates collide. In Indonesia, earthquakes represent an everyday occurrence as felt earthquakes happen more than three times a day5.

Earthquake_Forecast

 

Sources:
1 United States Geological Survey (USGS). Accessed on 2022-03-03. Available at: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/?extent=18.47961,-137.19727&extent=54.00777,-52.82227
2 EarthScope Education and Outreach Bulletin: Earthquake in Tonga. Accessed on 2022-03-03. Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/5212876.pdf
3 Bacon, John. USA Today. Magnitude 7.5 earthquake rocks Peru, topples centuries-old church tower. Accessed on 2022-03-03. Available at: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/11/28/magnitude-7-5-earthquake-rocks-peru-topples-centuries-old-church-tower/8785518002/
4 The Economic Times. At least 10 dead in Indonesia earthquake as search continues. Accessed on 2022-03-03. Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/at-least-10-dead-in-indonesia-earthquake-as-search-continues/articleshow/89864205.cms
5 Zikry, Adjie Nugraha. EDA and Visualization of Earthquake Occurrence in Indonesia over the last 20 years using R. Accessed on 2022-03-03. Available at: https://towardsdatascience.com/eda-and-visualization-of-earthquake-occurrence-in-indonesia-over-the-last-20-years-using-r-4c76e94e94c2?gi=ef3219690037

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