7.0-magnitude quake hits Papua New Guinea: USGS

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7.0 quake hits Papua New Guinea

A major 7.0-magnitude natural disaster struck Papua New Guinea's New Britain island on Thursday, triggering a tsunami warning.

A major natural disaster struck the coast of Papua New Guinea this morning.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said hazardous tsunami waves could hit coasts within 300km of the earthquake's epicentre.

The quake hit about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of the town of Rabaul, just before 7 a.m. local time (2100 GMT Wednesday) and was given an initial magnitude of 7.3.

But it warned that "recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis, landslides and liquefaction that might have contributed to losses".

No damage has been reported, but PNG officials said they could not contact villages closest to the quake's epicentre.

New Zealand's Civil Defence said there was no significant tsunami risk to the country.

But scientists do not have any tide gauges close to where the natural disaster happened, so are unable to say at this point whether tsunamis have been generated.

In March, a magnitude-6.6 quake struck nearby with no casualties or damage reported.

The strong quake was felt in Denpasar on the holiday island of Bali, where panicked people fled from buildings.

A strong aftershock followed a major magnitude 7.0 quake that struck off the southeastern coast of Papua New Guinea.

It later revised its forecast saying: 'Based on all available data the tsunami threat from this quake has now passed'.

The country is is still recovering from a magnitude-7.5 quake that hit around 900km to the west, which killed at least 100 people last February.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Some tourists and residents ducked outdoors as a precaution but then went back to sleep when there was no tsunami warning.

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