Updated: 04/19/2014 23:48 | By Agence France-Presse

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea: USGS

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday, the US Geological Survey said.


Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea: USGS

Papua New Guinea sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" -- a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates - by Frederick Florin

A tsunami warning was issued for Papua and the Solomon Islands by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but it later cancelled the alert.

The quake struck 75 kilometres (47 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville island at a depth of 30 kilometres just before 11:30 pm (1330 GMT), USGS said.

The seismologists said another 5.6-magnitude quake hit the same area around 20 minutes later at a depth of 69 kilometres.

Earlier Saturday, USGS reported that a 6.6-magnitude tremor had occurred in the same area.

Quakes of such magnitude are common in Papua, which sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Last year in February the remote town of Lata in the Solomons was hit by a devastating tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake. The tsunami left at least 10 people dead, destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of people homeless.

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