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M7.6 Mahabiss-Sealark Fracture Earthquake, 2003


27 May 2003


W of Perhos Banhos, BIOT


20:27:50 UTC (01:27:50 MVT)  


2.639 S (ISC)


68.353 E (ISC)


10.0 kms (ISC)


Mw 7.6 (GS), 7.5 (HRV).

Additional Info


Map Disclaimer

A major earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean in the vicinity of the Mahabiss and Sea Lark Fractures, to the south of the Maldives on 15 July 2003 at 22:10 PM local time causing minor damage to property in the southern Maldives. The earthquake had a magnitude of Mw=7.6 and was felt at many places in the Maldive Islands.

The earthquake was centred 476 kilometres WNW of Perhos Banhos, B.I.O.T.,
577 kilometres WSW of Gan (Addu Atoll), The Maldives,
680 kilometres NW of Simpson Point (Diogo Garcia), B.I.O.T.,
791 kilometres SW of Fahala (Kolumadulu Atoll), The Maldives,
949 kilometres SW of Male (Male Atolls), The Maldives,
1321 kilometres SSW of Minicoy Island (Lakshadweep Islands), India,
1449 kilometres E of Victoria (Mahe Island), Seychelles,
1565 kilometres SSW of Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), India.

This earthquake was felt in many parts of the Maldive Islands. The strongest tremors were felt on Feydhoo Island in Addu Atoll in the southern Maldives. Everyone was awakened by the shock and ran outdoors. Doors, windows and in some cases, the roofs of houses rattled violently. Several houses in Addu Atoll developed cracks including the walls of the Feydhoo School. Many residents of the atoll spent the night outdoors. Strong shocks were also felt in Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhalu and Fuah Mulah. An eyewitness on Fuah Mulah reported seeing a large mango tree sway back and forth during the earthquake. A few old cracks were also widened by the tremors on Dhaandhoo Island in Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Tremors were felt in the capital, Male and many residents were woken up. Tremors were also felt in the Huvadhu and South Huvadhu Atolls for close to 2-minutes.

According to an official with the Maldives government, no unsual tides were reported from anywhere in the islands. Focal mechanisms indicated a strike-slip event. There was no threat of an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami due to the mechanism of this event. The last major earthquake in this immediate area was an Mw=7.7 event on 30 November 1983 and was centred near the island of Diogo Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) just to the south of the Maldives. That earthquake generated a small tsunami that was recorded as far as the Seychelles.

01) International Seismological Centre (ISC), Berkshire.
02) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.
Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
04) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.

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Page Updated: 21 Feb 2008 | Website Disclaimer

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