No tsunami warning was issued after a strong earthquake struck in the South Pacific early today. A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck New Britain island off Papua New Guinea Thursday, 131 kilometres (81 miles) southwest of the town of Kokopo, US seismologists said.
The quake hit the island at 1045 GMT (12:45 a.m. HST), northeast of mainland Papua. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said “a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.”
The quake hit at a depth of 48.9 kilometres and the US Geological Survey initially reported the earthquake’s magnitude at 6.8, but later revised its strength.
Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Mark Leonard said the depth of the quake and its location meant the tremor was unlikely to cause any serious damage to Papua New Guinea.
“It’s this deep and it’s just on the end of the coast, so the area of damage is only a few kilometres around,” Leonard told AFP.
“That outpost of New Britain is very sparsely populated so we’re not really expecting any serious damage.”
Leonard added that no tsunami would be generated as there was no displacement of sea floors for an earthquake at this depth.
The epicentre was 680 kilometres from Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby.
New Britain is the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, east of mainland New Guinea, and has a population of around 500,000 people.
The island lies on the 4,000-kilometre long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the “Ring of Fire,” a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.
A 7.5-magnitude quake hit the region on March 30, some 55 kilometres from Kokopo, without triggering a tsunami, though the tremor sent startled residents fleeing from their homes.
(Content for this story courtesy AFP)