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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earthquakes hit Marianas
No tsunami warning, watch issued

A flurry of earthquakes, including one with a magnitude of 7.2 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, jolted the Mariana Islands region over the weekend but none posed a tsunami threat, according to emergency officials.

The Emergency Management Office said earthquakes of such sizes sometimes produce local tsunami that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the epicenter but this weekend’s events generated no tsunami watch or warning.

EMO public information officer John Takai Camacho told Saipan Tribune yesterday that the 7.2 and 6.3 earthquakes were strong, but they were not felt in the CNMI because they were too far.

Camacho said no damage to property was reported.

“There [were] a lot of earthquakes on Saturday and even today [Sunday],” said Camacho, who is also EMO’s geophysical seismic technician/supervisor.

Brandon Aydlett, a forecaster at the National Weather Service’s office in Guam, said nothing was felt in the U.S. territory.

“It was completely unnoticed out here,” he said.

Shawn Gumataotao, deputy chief of staff for Guam Gov. Felix Camacho, said there were no immediate reports of damage, with many people sleeping through the quake.

CNMI officials also said there were no reports of damage.

Flurry of quakes

In its first bulletin issued Saturday at 8:45am, EMO said an earthquake with a 7.2 magnitude that occurred about 340 miles west southwest of Saipan and 275 miles west southwest of Rota was recorded at the EMO office on Capital Hill at 7:19am.

The U.S. Geological Survey, however, recorded it as a 6.9 magnitude quake with a depth of 10 kilometers.

EMO issued another bulletin on Saturday at 11am that a second earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 occurred at 8:08am about 325 miles southwest of Saipan and 260 miles west southwest of Rota.

In its third bulletin issued Saturday at 5:30pm, EMO said another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 occurred at 5:30pm some 280 miles west southwest of Rota and 345 miles southwest of Saipan.

USGS recorded the 6.3 quake as about 235 miles west southwest of Guam, 280 miles west southwest of Rota, and 345 miles south west of Saipan, with a depth of 9.7 kilometers.

Between the 7.2 and 6.3 quakes, the USGS also detected on Saturday three more earthquakes in the Marianas region—4.8, 4.6, and 4.7 magnitudes.

After the 6.3 magnitude event, the USGS also recorded three more on Saturday—5.2, 5.0, and 4.7.

Yesterday, the USGS recorded a dozen earthquakes in the Marianas region. It said the quakes had magnitudes ranging from 4.8 to 6.6.

USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin said such aftershocks are normal following a large quake.

“That’s especially true if it’s shallow,” he said. All the quakes were about three to six miles (five to 10 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor. (With the Associated Press)

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