Powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude strikes off PNG
(Reuters) – A powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude struck off the coast of New Britain island in Papua New Guinea on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.
There was no tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and there were no immediate reports of damage. [restrict]
The USGS said the quake’s epicenter was a shallow 35 km (21 miles) deep in the sea between New Britain island and Papua New Guinea’s north coast.
“We felt it just a few minutes ago, but from where we are there was no damage,” said Claire Jolam, receptionist at Walindi Plantation Resort, at Kimbe on New Britain.
The quake was so powerful that it was felt as far away as the capital Port Moresby, 750 km (460 miles) away on the country’s south coast.
Albert Kasokason, who lives in Port Moresby, told Reuters that he felt the earthquake while at his office.
“Nothing fell over. It was just unusual for Port Moresby,” he said. “There is no damage but a lot of people felt it throughout Port Moresby.”
In July 1998, two undersea quakes measuring 7.0 magnitude created three tsunamis that killed at least 2,100 people near the town of Aitape on Papua New Guinea’s north coast.
Papua New Guinea is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” which has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. (Reporting by James Regan, Jamie Freed and Tom Westbrook; Editing by Michael Perry) [/restrict]