Powerful Earthquake Hits in Papua New Guinea, Triggers Tsunami Alert

Cheryl Sanders
May 14, 2019

A tsunami alert that warned of "hazardous" waves was issued for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands after a powerful natural disaster rattled the region late Tuesday. It was centered at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), it said.

"Based on the preliminary natural disaster parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1000 km of the quake epicenter", the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, but the USGS estimated that damage and injuries would be low because of the sparse population.

New Zealand is not at risk of any tsunami following a power quake which hit Papua New Guinea earlier this morning. It said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or Guam.

A 7.5-magnitude quake hit the rugged highlands region in February 2018 that triggered landslides, burying homes and killing at least 125 people.

Papua New Guinea is well within the Pacific "Ring of Fire" a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. It plans to monitor movement in the area over the coming hours.

The natural disaster, which struck at 11:58 p.m. local time on Tuesday, was centered in water just off New Ireland island, about 44 kilometers (27 miles) northeast of Kokopo on the island of New Britain.

"Based on the preliminary quake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1000KM of the natural disaster epicentre".

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