Large earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea

The magnitude 6.9 quake strikes off the southern coast of New Britain island

 A handout photo shows a shakemap of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea. Photograph: USGS handout/EPA

A handout photo shows a shakemap of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea. Photograph: USGS handout/EPA

 

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain island on Friday, triggering a tsunami warning for surrounding coastlines.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the shallow quake close to the coast, about 162km southwest of Rabaul.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a threat warning for the country’s coastline located within 300km of the quake’s epicentre, but later advised that the threat had passed.

“Government agencies responsible for threatened coastal areas should take action to inform and instruct any coastal populations at risk,” the PTWC said in its alert. “Persons located in threatened coastal areas should stay alert for information.”

Australian authorities said there was no threat to the Australian coastline from the quake, which was initially reported as a magnitude 7.2.

Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, is still reeling a month after a magnitude 7.5 quake in its rugged and remote highlands, killing at least 100 people as landslides buried villages. – Reuters