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Strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea prompts brief tsunami threat

The epicentre of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake off Papua New Guinea on July 16, 2020. U.S. Geological Service

A strong earthquake shook inland Papua New Guinea on Friday, and officials said they had yet to confirm reports of damage to coastal villages.

The South Pacific island nation’s disaster management centre said the epicenter was inland near Kokoda and very deep. Shaking was felt in the capital Port Moresby but not strongly.

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Col. Carl Wrakonei, the centre’s director, said it could take a few hours for damage reports to reach Port Moresby.

“At this stage there are no reports of any casualties or damage,” Wrakonei said.

The epicenter was close to Morobe Patrol Post, with a coastal population of 15,000 in Morobe province. Locals reported on social media the wharf at Morobe Patrol Post had “cracked in half.”

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Some damage was reported on social media in coastal villages. Residents were advised to go inland if there were any sign of tidal changes or irregular ocean patterns.

Read more: At least 5 dead after powerful earthquake shakes central, southern Mexico

No tsunami warning was issued, and the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the threat had passed.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude quake was 80 kilometres (53 miles) deep.

Papua New Guinea is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because of its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

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