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Global Largest Earthquakes in March 2022

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake report we witnessed 1,171 earthquakes with a magnitude above  4 in March 2022. Among them, 991 were of magnitude between 4 to 4.9, 166 of magnitude from 5.0 to 5.9, and 14 of magnitude 6 or more (1).

The strongest and at the same time the deadliest earthquake occurred on March 16th in Japan, offshore Fukushima, 57 km northeast of Namie, with a moment magnitude 7.3 at a depth of 63.1 km. It was preceded by a magnitude 6.0 foreshock at a depth of 48.1 km. Four people died and 225 were injured. Also, a tsunami was observed with heights of 30 m (0.98 ft)1.

Japan_Earthquake_March_2022

The country faced with power outages at a time when Japan is still amid the winter power demand season, with relatively cold weather. At least 344 schools across eleven prefectures sustained minor damage to walls and ceilings and 476 reportedly temporally closed their doors2.

This earthquake occurred along a reverse fault within the Pacific plate.

The second and the third largest earthquakes in March both occurred in New Caledonia, offshore Loyalty Islands. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred on 31st of March, 279 km southeast of Tadine, while the magnitude of 6.9 earthquake occurred on 30th of March, 279 km southeast of Tadine. The earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 was a foreshock to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which occurred eight hours later. A small tsunami was detected. (USGS)

Loyalty_Islands_Earthquake_March_2022

At least nine other aftershocks of magnitude up to 5.9 have been registered in the area. Luckily, there was no reported damage or fatalities.

The earthquake occurred due to shallow thrust faulting along the New Hebrides subduction zone, where the Australian Plate subducts beneath the New Hebrides Plate. The entire rupture process occurred in approximately 50 seconds3.

 

Sources:
1) Jozuka, Emiko and Maruyama, Mayumi and others. 4 dead after 7.4-magnitude earthquake hits coast off Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Accessed on 2022-03-31. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/16/asia/japan-earthquake-fukushima-intl/index.html

2) Kumagai, Takeo and Koshoji, Hiroyuki. Japan's Fukushima earthquake shuts dozen power plants, Sendai, Chiba refineries. Accessed on 2022-03-31. Available at: https://www.spglobal.com/commodity-insights/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/031722-japans-fukushima-earthquake-shuts-dozen-power-plants-sendai-chiba-refineries
 3) Ye, Lingling; Gong, Wenzheng, etc. Shallow Megathrust Rupture during the 10 February 2021 Mw 7.7 Southeast Loyalty Islands Earthquake Sequence. The Seismic Record. GeoScienceWorld. 1 (3): 154–163. doi:10.1785/0320210035. Accessed on 2022-04-04. Available at: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/ssa/tsr/article/1/3/154/610047/Shallow-Megathrust-Rupture-during-the-10-February

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