A powerful magnitude-7.3 earthquake has struck off the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea, but there were no immediate reports of a tsunami or damage and injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was located 38 miles southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island. It struck at a depth of 31 miles, according to The Associated Press.
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The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami. But the agency said quakes of this size can sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive to coasts within a few hundred kilometers of the epicenter.
Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the "Ring of Fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.
"This is a highly active area seismically," said Chris McKee, the assistant director at the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory in the Papua New Guinea capital. "The population is strung out along the coast in a number of centers, but it's not densely populated."
The quake was initially measured at 7.4 but was later revised down to 7.3, according to Reuters.
In 1998, a magnitude 7 earthquake triggered a tsunami that smashed into villages near Aitape on Papua New Guinea's north coast and killed more than 2,000 people.
Resource-rich Bougainville, which neighbors the Solomon Islands, fought for a bloody war for independence from Papua New Guinea in the 1990s, leading to the closure of the Panguna copper mine, majority-owned by Rio Tinto Ltd
Residents in Bougainville's second-largest town of Buka and Gizo in the north of the Solomon Islands reported feeling tremors but said there was no immediate signs of any damage.
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