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Tsunami alert after 6.5 quake off Papua New Guinea

Last Updated: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 10:09

Sydney: A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck beneath the sea off Papua New Guinea Sunday seismologists said, prompting a local tsunami alert.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or
damage from the quake, which hit at 4:37 am (1837 GMT Sunday)
at a depth of 43 kilometres (27 miles) some 120 kilometres
west of the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea,
according to the United States Geological Survey.

"Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local
tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within
100 km of the earthquake epicentre," the Pacific Tsunami
Warning Center, based in Hawaii, said in a statement.

There was no risk of a destructive widespread tsunami
from the quake, which was also 248 kilometres from Chirovanga
in the Solomon Islands, the centre said.

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 northwest coast of mainland Papua New Guinea.

In 2007, a tsunami following an 8.1-magnitude
earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomon Islands
and left thousands homeless.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 10:09
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