7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea

Saturday 19 April 2014 17.43
The 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea at 11.30pm local time
The 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea at 11.30pm local time

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake has struck off Papua New Guinea according to the US Geological Survey.

A tsunami warning was issued for Papua and the Solomon Islands by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, however it has since been cancelled.

The quake struck 75km southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville island at a depth of 30km just before 11.30pm local time (13.30 GMT), USGS said.

The seismologists said another 5.6-magnitude quake hit the same area around 20 minutes later at a depth of 69km.

Earlier Saturday, USGS reported that a 6.6-magnitude tremor had occurred in the same area.

Quakes of such magnitude are common in Papua, which sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Last year in February the remote town of Lata in the Solomons was hit by a devastating tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake. The tsunami left at least 10 people dead, destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of people homeless.