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Tsunami warning after strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea on Saturday, and a tsunami warning was issued to areas near the epicentre.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The magnitude-7.9 quake struck 29 miles (46km) east of Taron in Papua New Guinea, the US Geological Survey said. The quake was deep, at 61 miles (103km). Deeper earthquakes tend to cause less damage than shallow ones.

The USGS initially said the quake's magnitude was 8.0, but later downgraded its strength.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was a threat of a tsunami in Papua New Guinea and nearby areas. It said tsunami waves reaching 3ft-9ft (1m-3m) high were possible along the coasts of Papua New Guinea, while waves in other areas, including the Solomon Islands, were likely to be less than 1ft (30cm) high.

The quake rattled residents near the epicentre on the island of New Ireland, but was not felt in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, said Mathew Moihoi, an official with the Geophysical Observatory. There were no immediate reports of damage, though officials were still assessing the situation, he added.

Papua New Guinea sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.

AP

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