Chronology  Click here
I-MAG STS    Corporation
In the Southwestern Pacific the Solomon islands, of which there are nearly one
thousand (total land mass about 28,400 square kilometers), have a population
about 560,000 people. Southeast is Vanuatu and then Tonga. North are the
Federated States of Micronesia. There was a Richter 6.9 today at 4:16:55  UTC with
a preliminary epicenter of 10.349 South  161.233 East and a depth of 81.6. As we
shall see, a mere 6.9 is no big deal for the Solomons. For example, on 1 April 2007
at 20:40 (UTC) an 8.1 earthquake with a epicenter of 8.47 South and 157.04 East
and an estimated depth of  24 kilometers caused a tsunami and was followed by 79
Richter 5.0 or greater aftershocks (including a 6.9) in the next two days, and
another 43 events in the next two months. Perhaps a chronological cluster analysis
will be done, but of more importance was that the initial 2007 major event caused
a tsunami that killed at least 52 people and destroyed more than 900 homes,
leaving thousands of people homeless. Fans of volcanic disasters will recall that
Rabaul on New Britain (actually part of Papua-New Guinea) was effectively
destroyed (again) by a volcanic eruption in 1994. Today, Mount Bagana in the
north central part of Bougainville is conspicuously active, as are the Tinakula and
Kavachi volcanoes. The area is rich in volcanoes, which should mean
corresponding mineral wealth. Unfortunately, the Solomon Islands are unstable
politically as well as seismically. Part of the problem is the number of living
languages listed for Solomon Islands is 70: even though English is the official
language, it is estimated only two percent (2%) of residents are literate in it. The
lingua franca, so as to speak, is Solomons Pijin. Among other things, this
indicates more emphasis on education is needed. When we were analyzing the
economic impact of tsunamis in straits we looked at Saint George's Channel in the
Bismarck Archipelago (lies between New Ireland and eastern New Britain: it is
named by analogy with St George's Channel between Great Britain and Ireland) as
well as both the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits (west of New Britain).
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