News World Massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake shakes PNG

Massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake shakes PNG

PNG earthquake
The quake was initially thought to be of magnitude of 7.3. Photo: US Geological Survey
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A massive, magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck remote Papua New Guinea, the United States Geological Survey reports, sparking fears of a tsunami.

The quake hit about 200 kilometres south-west of the town of Rabaul on New Britain island at a depth of almost 40km shortly before 7:00am local time Thursday morning.

“We felt the earthquake a bit but it was not too strong,” Constable Roy Michael told Reuters by phone from Rabaul police station.

He said there was no reports of damage in the town, but officers had not yet been able to contact villages closer to the epicentre.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves less than 30cm high could be expected on coastlines in Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Solomon Islands.

Australia’s Tsunami Warning Centre said its coastlines were not at risk.

The quake was initially recorded with a magnitude of 7.3 but was downgraded.

At least two aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 5.0 shortly followed.

In March, a 6.6 magnitude quake struck nearby and no casualties or damage were reported.

Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, sits on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and is still recovering from a 7.5 quake that hit 900km to the west in February, killing at least 100 people.

– More to come, with AAP