Shallow 6.9 earthquake hits Papua New Guinea triggering tsunami alert

Updated: Mar 30, 2018, 09:09 IST | AFP

The quake struck at 5:25 pm local time (2125 GMT) and was initially recorded at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers, about 162 kilometers from the New Britain town of Rabaul, the US Geological Survey

Representation pic
Representational Picture

A powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the New Britain island of Papua New Guinea today, US seismologists said, triggering a tsunami alert for the country. The quake struck at 5:25 pm local time (2125 GMT) and was initially recorded at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers, about 162 kilometers from the New Britain town of Rabaul, the US Geological Survey said. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said "hazardous" waves could be generated by the quake. "Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Papua New Guinea," it said in an alert.

It said smaller waves could also hit the Solomon Islands. The earthquake was quickly followed by two powerful smaller tremors, measuring 5.3 and 5.1, both at a depth of 35 kilometers, according to USGS. The Pacific nation was hit by a 7.5-magnitude quake on February 26 that buried homes and triggered landslides in its highlands region, killing at least 125 people. PNG sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. Its mountainous and remote terrain means it often takes several days for information about damage from quakes to reach officials and aid agencies.

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