Papua New Guinea rattled by 6.8 quake
AUSTRALIA: The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea was
jolted by a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake Monday, prompting a minor
tsunami warning, but there were no immediate reports of damage or
injuries. The US Geological Survey said the quake occurred at a depth of
16 kilometres (10 miles), some 131 km (81 miles) east of Wewak and 706
kilometres north of the capital Port Moresby.
“No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical
earthquake and tsunami data,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.
“However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis
that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers
of the earthquake epicentre.
“Authorities in the region of the epicentre should be aware of this
possibility and take appropriate action.”
GeoScience Australia measured the quake at 6.6 and said it would have
been felt more than 800 kilometres (496 miles) away, but damage would
only have been caused within a radius of 67 kilometres from the
The PNG Geophysical Observatory said that residents of the coastal
town of Wewak, home to about 18,000 people, would have been severely
shaken, but early reports suggested no major damage or injuries.
“Preliminary reports we are receving indicate that no real
life-threatening damage and it is not an event where a tsunami is
thought to be generated,” spokesman Lawrence Anton told AFP.
“This zone marks the boundary between two plates and so the quake was
shallow... this was at a shallow depth and not too far from Wewak so it
would have been felt strongly there.
“The way the quake occured is not the same as those that can generate
tsunamis - it was more of a horizontal plate movement, not a vertical
Papua New Guinea, which is mired in poverty despite rich mineral
deposits, sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for
seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.
A giant tsunami in 1997, caused by an undersea earthquake or a
landslide, killed more than 3,500 people near Aitapi, on the country’s
Sydney, Monday, AFP