SYDNEY — A powerful earthquake has rattled the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea, and a local tsunami was possible. However, several hours after the first temblor, the warning was lifted. Aftershocks scaling as high as 5.0 magnitude followed the quake.
The earthquake struck at 7:10 a.m. GMT (9:10 p.m. HST).
The U.S. Geological Survey says the 7.1-magnitude quake struck Thursday about 94 miles southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 186 miles of the epicenter on the coasts of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
The earthquake was 6 miles deep.
The archipelago sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.
The area around Papua New Guinea has been rattled by a series of quakes over the past week, including a 7.4 magnitude tremor south-southwest of the town of Kokopo in the New Britain region on Tuesday.