Major 7.1 quake strikes Papua New Guinea: USGS

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 15:01

Port Moresby: A violent 7.1-magnitude
earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, shaking buildings
and prompting residents to run into the streets and causing
panic in the highlands.

The quake, initially rated at 7.3, hit at a depth of 115
kilometres (71 miles) southwest of the coastal city of Lae and
223 kilometres from the capital Port Moresby, the US
Geological Survey said.

Macklyn Timbun, who works as a receptionist at the Lae
International Hotel, said she was sitting on a bus when the
quake hit and it was so large the driver ran away and the
vehicle almost rolled in the upheaval.

"I was like `Oh my god what`s happening?` Everybody
started running, people were trying to jump out of the
windows, it was the biggest earthquake," she said.

"Outside the hotel everyone was running out of the
building because most of the time we never experience such
earthquakes in Lae."

Geoscience Australia put the quake at a magnitude 7.2 at
0504 GMT, but said it was not expected to create a tsunami
because it was not an undersea rupture.

"That`s the assessment on the basis that it`s about 20
kilometres inshore and also it`s about 120 kilometres deep and
that`s too deep really to cause any tsunami problems," said
seismologist Clive Collins.

Papua New Guinea`s earthquake observatory said there were
no reports yet of damage but Collins said the tremor could
have caused problems for the nearest large town Wau, about 20
kilometres from the epicentre, as well as Lae.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 15:01

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