6.7-magnitude quake strikes Papua New Guinea: USGS | world | Hindustan Times
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6.7-magnitude quake strikes Papua New Guinea: USGS

world Updated: Mar 23, 2012 09:56 IST
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A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Thursday, the US Geological Survey reported, but seismologists said while it was widely felt it was too deep to cause much damage.

The quake hit some 62 kilometres from the Eastern Highlands provincial capital Goroka and 324 kilometres from the national capital Port Moresby at a depth of 105 kilometres.

"At over 100 kilometres deep it would not have caused any damage. No big dramas," said GeoScience duty seismologist Dan Jack.

"It was felt in Port Moresby, but just a rumble."

Chris McKee, assistant director at the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory told AFP it was felt widely, but also said it was too deep to be of concern.

"It was felt over quite a large area of PNG but because it was deep so we wouldn't expect all that much damage," he said.

Quakes of such magnitude are common in impoverished Papua New Guinea, which sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Last week, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the New Britain region of the country, with no damage or injuries reported.

"Commonly the structures in PNG don't seem to break up as you see in other places such as parts of Southern Europe and the Middle East, they tend to be able to absorb the shaking and not break. It's a different construction style," said McKee.

"In the Middle East it's made with mud bricks or masonery which are not very tolerant of shaking, whereas here it is timber which can move around more."

A giant tsunami in 1998, caused by an undersea earthquake, killed more than 2,000 people near Aitape, on the country's northwest coast.