Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Moderate quake hits Papua New Guinea: US seismologists

PORT MORESBY (AFP) - – A moderate, 5.8-magnitude quake struck Papua New Guinea Wednesday, US seismologists said, lowering previous estimates.

The quake struck at 0928 GMT with its epicentre 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of the town of Kandrian on New Britain island at a depth of about 52 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey said.

An initial report by the USGS estimated the quake at 6.2 magnitude at a depth of 40 kilometres.

There was no alert from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii.

Geoscience Australia, which also put the quake's epicentre at a depth of 52 kilometres, did not change its estimate of a strong, 6.2 magnitude earthquake.

"People close to it would have felt it quite strongly," Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepsen told AFP. "There's possibly some local damage.

"With other events of that sort of magnitude and in that area, typically you don't hear of much damage...."

Papua New Guinea, which is mired in poverty despite rich mineral deposits, sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

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