Strong earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea’s New Britain, no reports of damage

June 16th, 2011 - 11:15 am ICT by BNO News  

KANDRIAN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck an island of Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) on late Thursday morning, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake at 10.03 a.m. local time (0003 GMT) was centered about 115 kilometers (71 miles) east-southeast of Kimbe, the capital of the province of West New Britain on the island of New Britain. It struck about 21.5 kilometers (13.4 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS estimated that approximately 2,000 people may have felt ‘very strong’ shaking, which could potentially result in moderate to heavy damage. Another 18,000 people were estimated to have perceived strong shaking, while 95,000 others may have felt moderate shaking.

However, earthquakes in the mountainous nation of New Papua Guinea do rarely cause damage or casualties as most structures in the region are light and flexible. This allows them to bend, rather than snap when a major earthquake happens.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive tsunami. “No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data,” the agency said in a bulletin.

Papua New Guinea, close to Indonesia, is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently.

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