Magnitude 7.7 Papua New Guinea quake raises tsunami threat

Magnitude 7.7 Papua New Guinea quake raises tsunami threat

A violent 7.5 magnitude natural disaster struck an island chain off the north coast of Papua New Guinea late Tuesday, knocking out power and sending residents fleeing for safety.

"If a tsunami has been generated it is not likely to arrive in New Zealand for at least 4 hours", it said in a tweet.

The magnitude 7.5 offshore tremor struck around 50km east of the main city of Rabaul at a depth of around 10km just before 11pm on Tuesday (13:00 GMT), according to the United States Geological Survey.

MCDEM initially said it was assessing the potential tsunami risk to New Zealand.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: "Based on the preliminary natural disaster parameters. hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1,000 kms (620 miles) of the quake epicentre".

In a final message, the PTWC said "no tsunami waves were observed at the closest sea level gagues, however here are no sea level gauges near the epicenter".

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Papua New Guinea authorities are assessing the extent of damage from a powerful quake that rattled coastal towns yesterday evening.

Police Sergeant Frank Kilaur described the tremor as "very strong".

An alert for tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above the tide level was issued for some coasts of Papua New Guinea.

It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occurs.

There were no initial reports of serious damage but the full picture may not become clear until daylight. 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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