Strong Earthquake Strikes Off Papua New Guinea

May 17, 2011

Officials issued a local tsunami alert after a strong earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Monday. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The 6.5-magnitude quake struck 76 miles (122 kilometers) west of Arawa, the capital of Bougainville province, at a depth of 27 miles (43 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive, widespread tsunami. But the agency did say earthquakes of this size can sometimes generate tsunamis along coasts within 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the epicenter.

Bill Yomba, an official with Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center, said there had been no reports of any tsunamis striking the coast, and officials had not received any reports of damage or injuries.

Earthquakes of this magnitude are relatively common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the “Ring of Fire” – an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim and where about 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur.

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