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A magnitude 4.8 earthquake strikes Buan in southwestern Korea

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake strikes Buan in southwestern Korea

Posted June. 13, 2024 09:41,   

Updated June. 13, 2024 09:41


A magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit Buan in southwestern South Koreaat 8:26 a.m. on Wednesday. This was the strongest earthquake in South Korea this year, especially notable for the Honam region, which rarely experiences seismic activity.

The Korea Meteorological Administration reported the epicenter at 35.70 degrees north latitude and 126.72 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 8 kilometers. Initial estimates based on the faster P-wave indicated a magnitude of 4.7, later revised to 4.8.

Several aftershocks, a common occurrence after an earthquake, followed this mid-sized earthquake. About 30 minutes before the main quake, a foreshock of magnitude 0.5 occurred at 7:58 a.m. After the main quake, 15 aftershocks were recorded until 2 p.m., including a significant 3.1-magnitude aftershock at 1:55 p.m., which was felt by many residents, reminding them of the initial quake.

The shallow epicenter caused widespread shaking across the country. In North Jeolla Province, closest to the epicenter, the shaking reached magnitude 5, causing almost everyone to feel it and potentially damaging dishes and windows. In South Jeolla Province, the quake measured magnitude 4, waking some people and causing items like dishes and windows to shake. Other regions, including Incheon, South Gyeongsang Province, Daejeon, and North Chungcheong Province, experienced magnitude 3, where people indoors, especially on upper floors, felt significant shaking and stationary cars trembled. Ulsan, Gangwon Province, Busan, and Seoul experienced magnitude 2, where only a few people felt the tremors.

The earthquake caused significant damage. By 3 p.m., the Jeonbuk Disaster Safety and Countermeasures Center had received 101 reports of damage, including cracked walls, fallen tiles, and broken hot water pipes. In Haengsan Cultural Village in Haengan-myeon, Buan, near the epicenter, some walls had collapsed.

The weather agency sent a nationwide emergency alert via text message at 8:27 a.m., just 10 seconds after detecting the quake. The government, in a swift response, initiated stage 1 of the Central Disaster Safety and Countermeasures Center's emergency protocol and issued a "vigilance" alert, the third level in the earthquake crisis alert system, which includes "concern," "caution," "vigilance," and "severe."

김예윤 yeah@donga.com