Papua New Guinea earthquake: Tsunami alert issued after powerful 7.5 quake near Kokopo

It comes a year after earthquake of same magnitude killed at least 125 people in country's central region

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 14 May 2019 15:58 BST
Papua New Guinea earthquake: Tsunami alert issued after powerful 7.5 quake near Kokopo

A powerful earthquake measuring magnitude 7.5 has struck Papua New Guinea, triggering a tsunami alert for the country and the nearby Solomon Islands.

The quake's epicentre was 45km northeast of Kokopo, the provincial capital of the Papuan island of East New Britain, and struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, but the USGS estimated damage and injuries would be low because of the sparse population.

It comes a year after an earthquake of the same magnitude killed at least 125 people in the country's central region, and forced another 35,000 from their homes.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves up to 1 metre were possible within 1,000km of the quake's epicentre, along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

It later said the tsunami threat had largely passed and no waves had been observed, but that there were no sea level gauges in the area for measurement.

Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia.

It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.

Additional reporting by AP

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