Papua New Guinea hit by magnitude 7.5 earthquake, Tsunami warning cancelled

The third powerful earthquake in a week has struck Papua New Guinea, triggering a tsunami warning stretching almost 200 miles from the epicentre.

A magnitude-7.4 earthquake off Papua New Guinea has generated a small tsunami and caused minor damage to buildings in the town of Kokopo in East New Britain province.

There have been no reports of injuries or major damage to infrastructure.

The epicentre was about 80 miles south of the town of Kokopo and 26 miles deep, according to US Geological Survey data, as the result of movement along fault lines between the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued the warning but said that a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami reaching as far as Hawaii was not expected.

Tremors could be felt across New Britain, Latangai Island and Bougainville Island, and a series of eight huge aftershocks followed ranging from magnitude 4.9 to 5.9.

A tsunami warning was issued for “hazardous waves” within 200 miles of the epicentre and people living along the coast were put on alert.

A three-foot tsunami was seen in the harbour of Rabaul according to Papua New Guinea’s Geophysical Observatory but the warning has since been lifted.

The assistant director, Chris McKee, said there were no reports of flooding as the tsunami did not rise beyond the normal high tide level.

PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill was briefed by East New Britain governor Ereman Tobaining and said the Provincial Disaster Office was monitoring the situation.

“In our island regions people have to be particularly vigilant for the potential of tsunamis,” Mr O’Neill said.

“I call on local leaders to ensure you communicate with your people and in particular continue to education children on the warning signs.”

East New Britain is located on the seismically volatile Pacific “Ring of Fire”, which has been active in the last week.

There was a magnitude-6.7 earthquake on Thursday night and a magnitude-6.8 tremor on Friday night.

“This latest event from the same area is probably a new rupture but there will be a merging of the aftershock sequences … so we expect aftershocks will continue for some time – days maybe even weeks,” Mr Maki said.

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