Earthquakes in New Caledonia

In New Caledonia, there are partly large earthquakes with strengths of more than 7.0, which cause damages within a radius of over 100 kilometers. Due to the special tectonic situation of the country, there are more earthquakes than average.

Other natural hazards in New Caledonia:
The most severe earthquakes in the world

Back to overview: New Caledonia

Severe earthquake on May 23rd

On the afternoon of May 23rd, 2023, a devastating earthquake occurred 288 km east of Vao at 17:41 local time. The quake had a magnitude of 6.1 points on the Richter scale and occurred at a depth of about 12 kilometers. In the course of the following days, numerous aftershocks occurred. Twelve of them with a magnitude of over 2.5. The most severe aftershock had a magnitude of 5.5. Such violent earthquakes occur only rarely. It is the strongest earthquake in New Caledonia in 4 days.

Most recent events

This list includes the strongest earthquakes recorded in or around New Caledonia by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the past 14 days. Whether an event is listed here depends largely on its magnitude, but also on its distance from inhabited areas. All data refer to the local time. This page is updated daily at 10:00 UTC.

Recent earthquakes in New Caledonia
  • May 24, 12:06 am
    Magnitude 4.8: 280 km east of Vao at a depth of ten km.
  • May 23, 5:41 pm
    Magnitude 6.1: 288 km east of Vao at a depth of 12.14 km.
  • May 23, 9:54 am
    Magnitude 5.1: 236 km east-southeast of Tadine at a depth of ten km.

Earthquakes in New Caledonia since 1950

The strongest earthquake in New Caledonia happened on 05/16/1995 in the Noumea; Vanuatu (Port-Vila) region with a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale. The earthquake also triggered a tsunami, leading to further victims and destruction.
DateRegionDepthMagnitudeDeathsTotal damage
05/20/2023Loyalty Islands36 km7.10
05/19/2023Loyalty Islands37 km7.70
03/31/2022Loyalty Islands10 km7.00
03/30/2022Loyalty Islands10 km6.90
02/10/2021Loyalty Islands10 km7.70
12/05/2018Loyalty Islands10 km7.50
10/16/2018Loyalty Islands17 km6.50
08/29/2018Loyalty Islands21 km7.10
11/19/2017Loyalty Islands13 km6.30
11/19/2017Loyalty Islands28 km6.60
11/19/2017Loyalty Islands25 km7.00
11/01/2017Loyalty Islands7 km6.60
10/31/2017Loyalty Islands12 km6.70
08/12/2016Loyalty Islands28 km7.20
05/10/2011Loyalty Islands9 km6.80
04/09/2008Loyalty Islands12 km7.30
12/27/2003Loyalty Islands25 km6.10
05/16/1995Noumea; Vanuatu (Port-Vila)44 km7.70
11/02/1972Loyalty Islands (Tanna, Anatom)22 km7.00

These statistics are based on datas from the National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS): Significant Earthquake Database. doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K. Data have been summarized and translated.
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