Cyprus Mail

Powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude strikes off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude struck off the coast of New Britain island in Papua New Guinea on Monday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There was no tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and there were no immediate reports of damage.

The USGS said the quake’s epicentre was a shallow 35km deep in the sea between New Britain island and Papua New Guinea’s north coast.

“We felt it just a few minutes ago, but from where we are there was no damage,” said Claire Jolam, receptionist at Walindi Plantation Resort, at Kimbe on New Britain.

The quake was so powerful that it was felt as far away as the capital Port Moresby, 750km away on the country’s south coast.

Albert Kasokason, who lives in Port Moresby, told Reuters that he felt the earthquake while at his office.

“Nothing fell over. It was just unusual for Port Moresby,” he said. “There is no damage but a lot of people felt it throughout Port Moresby.”

In July 1998, two undersea quakes measuring 7.0 magnitude created three tsunamis that killed at least 2,100 people near the town of Aitape on Papua New Guinea’s north coast.

Papua New Guinea is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” which has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 also struck the Himalayan region of Tibet on Monday, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quake, which hit at a depth of 25km, about 300km north-west of the city of Qamdo.

Seperately, a quake of magnitude 5.2 struck north-western Greece, close to the country’s border with Albania, late on Saturday, Athens’ Geodynamic Institute reported, causing damage but no casualties.

The quake’s epicentre was 12km north-west of the city of Ioannina, said an official at the Institute.

There was some damage to the mountainous road network in the area due to falling rocks but no casualties, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The tremor was also felt on the Corfu island in the Ionian Sea, a popular tourist destination, according to the semi-state Athens News Agency.

Greece and the surrounding region is often rattled by earthquakes, mostly at sea which cause no serious damage.

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