Powerful quake hits Papua New Guinea, tsunami alert issued

Solomon Islands are seen in this image from Google

Solomon Islands are seen in this image from Google

A powerful quake stuck Papua New Guinea late Tuesday evening, triggering a tsunami alert for coastal areas up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away.

Kokopo town has a rapidly grown population of more than 20,000. Forecasters said that if there was a threat to Hawaiʻi, the earliest estimated time the hazard might begin would be 11:22 a.m. HST.

"MCDEM has assessed the information with the assistance of science advisors".

A short time later, it said it had assessed the quake with the assistance of science advisors, and "the initial assessment is that the natural disaster is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will affect New Zealand".

Along the South Solomon trench, an area of the Pacific that includes Papua New Guinea, there have been more than a dozen quakes of magnitude 7.5 or more recorded since 1900, according to USGS data.

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Fox Los Angeles reported Rick Dickert said there is "no tsunami threat for California" after the quake struck. There were no reports of major damage or casualties. We will have some more reports, probably in the morning, so we will wait.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.5, down from an initial estimate of 7.7 from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

It comes about a year after an natural disaster of the same magnitude left at least 125 people dead in the country's central region.

Located in the hot spot of seismic and volcanic activity that is the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, Papua New Guinea experiences regular earthquakes due to the friction of tectonic plates located deep beneath. That quake hit areas that are remote and undeveloped, and assessments about the scale of the damage and injuries were slow to filter out.

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