Published: Thu, May 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

M7.5 natural disaster jolts Papua New Guinea, Tsunami warning issued

M7.5 natural disaster jolts Papua New Guinea, Tsunami warning issued

The natural disaster struck about 30 miles northeast of Kokopo at a depth of about 6 miles, officials said.

A powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea's New Britain island on Tuesday, prompting fears of "hazardous" tsunami waves for coasts within 1,000 km of the quake's epicenter.

"If a tsunami has been generated it is not likely to arrive in New Zealand for at least 4 hours", it said in a tweet.

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, but the USGS estimated that damage and injuries would be low because of the sparse population. It was centred at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres (6 miles), it said.

MCDEM initially said it was assessing the potential tsunami risk to New Zealand.

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Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched teams in the Pacific island nation's New Britain province to monitor remote communities for casualties and assess the extent of damage after a powerful, shallow quake rattled coastal towns. It said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or Guam.

It triggered an initial tsunami warning, though local officials said no waves were observed, nor any casualties reported yet but that they were seeking information on residents outside urban areas. We will have some more reports, probably in the morning, so we will wait.

Police Sergeant Frank Kilaur told Reuters the quake was "very strong and shook the whole place up". "We are OK here", he said.

Papua New Guinea is well within the Pacific "Ring of Fire" a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

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