Strong Earthquake Shakes Papua New Guinea

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 3:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A strong earthquake has struck the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea shaking parts of the country for several minutes.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit about 89 kilometers southwest of the country second largest city, Lae. The strong tremor, initially rated as a 7.3 magnitude, struck at a depth of about 115 kilometers.

A local journalist in Lae told VOA he was driving at the time of the earthquake and thought one of his tires had come off.

Philemon , Reporter with Post-Courier))

“I felt that my vehicle was actually swaying, swaying from side to side,” reporter Oseah Philemon said. “And then I noticed the power pole was moving, the power lines were actually swaying. And then I realized there was earthquake.”

He said only minor damage is being reported at this time, but that it is unclear how the rural areas faired. He also confirmed there are no known injuries.

About 221 kilometers away from the epicenter, residents of the capital Port Moresby also reported feeling the quake. Witnesses say buildings shook in the capital for more than a minute.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not issued a tsunami alert.

Papua New Guinea sits on the Ring of Fire, an arc of active earthquake and volcanic zones that sits on the Pacific rim. Philemon says earthquakes happen frequently, especially in the eastern city of Lae.