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Tsunami threat passes after big quake hits Papua New Guinea

Tuesday, May 14th 2019, 11:00 am - Powerful earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea, triggering a tsunami alert for the nearby Solomon Islands.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck 45 km northeast of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami alert, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. An initial magnitude 7.7 rating was given, before being re-evaluated to a M7.5 quake.

The epicentre of the quake was at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km below the surface, the USGS said.

Earthquake (1)

SEE ALSO: Powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea

The USGS-linked Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami threat for parts of the Pacific, including the nearby Soloman Islands, with the risk for hazardous tsunami waves for coastal areas as far as 1,000 km away. That threat was later dropped as the risk for damaging waves had passed.

While shallow quakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, the USGS said that "damage and injuries would be low because of the sparse population."

PAPUA NEW GUINEA SITS ON THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE

Papua New Guinea is on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and is located to the east of Indonesia. It also sits on the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, which is where most of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity happen.

According to the USGS, there have been 22 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900.

"The dominant earthquake mechanisms are thrust and strike slip, associated with the arc-continent collision and the relative motions between numerous local microplates," the USGS explains.

The largest earthquake the region has seen was a magnitude 8.2 "shallow thrust fault event" in the northern Papua province of Indonesia, which killed 166 people in 1996.

WATCH BELOW: THE RING OF FIRE EXPLAINED

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters

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