Strong Earthquake shakes Papua New Guinea, local tsunami possible

May 7, 2015 Author: Vishwagujarat

A powerful earthquake rattled Papua New Guinea on Thursday the fourth strong quake to hit the South Pacific island nation in a week prompting a tsunami warning for nearby coasts.

The 7.2-magnitude quake struck about 150 kilometers southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island at a depth of 22 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said tsunami waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) were possible within 300 kilometers of the epicentre on the coast of Papua New Guinea. There was no threat of a tsunami beyond that.

There were no immediate reports of damage, said Chris McKee, assistant director of the Geophysical Observatory in the capital, Port Moresby. Because the epicentre was so far offshore, the chance of serious damage on land was less likely, he said.

“It’s not a particularly strong earthquake in global terms, but it could still have generated a tsunami, so it’s a bit too uncertain at this stage to be sure,” he said.

Thursday’s quake was located in a different area of Papua New Guinea than the previous three temblors that rattled the region over the past week, and was therefore an unrelated event, McKee said.

Papua New Guinea sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.