SYDNEY – A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea Monday, the US Geological Survey reported, but a tsunami warning was not issued and seismologists said it was unlikely to have caused any major damage.
The quake hit 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Finschhafen in the New Britain region and 320 kilometres from the capital Port Moresby at a depth of 84 kilometres, the US monitoring authority said.
“No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data,” said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which measured the quake at 20 kilometres deep.
Quakes of such magnitude are common in impoverished PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.
Geoscience Australia measured the quake at a depth of 50 kilometres, which it agreed was too deep for a tsunami. Seismologist Mark Leonard said it would have been felt, but was unlikely to have caused significant damage.
“It is unlikely to cause any damage because it was too deep and too far offshore,” he told AFP.
“It would have been felt, but it was not significant enough to cause any buildings to collapse.
“Quakes of this size are routine in PNG,” he added.
In 1998, a giant tsunami triggered by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake killed more than 2,000 people near Aitape, on the country’s northwest coast.
Originally posted at 03:41 am | Monday, March 11, 2012