Papua New Guinea rocked by 7.6 magnitude earthquake

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Although the extent of the damage remains unclear, photos show debris strewn across highways and cracks opening up in the roads.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 90 kilometers (about 56 miles) near Kainantu, a town of about 8,500 people, the United States Geological Survey reported.

No deaths were reported and no official confirmation of damage, but residents took to social media to post pictures of cracked roads, damaged cars and items falling from supermarket shelves, Reuters reported.

The US National Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of tsunami waves. Earlier in the day, he said dangerous tsunami waves were possible within 1,000 kilometers (about 621 miles) along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

A similarly large earthquake that struck the country’s remote highlands in 2018 killed more than 60 people and injured 500, destroying homes, triggering landslides and damaging a major gas plant.
Papua New Guinea is vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits along the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, where moving tectonic plates push against each other causing tremors.

The “ring” extends along a 25,000 mile (40,000 kilometer) arc from the boundary of the Pacific Plate, to smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea Plate, to ‘to the Cocos and Nazca Plates which border the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

It is home to the most active volcanoes in the world.

People most at risk from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes live in countries along the Ring of Fire, including Chile, Japan, the west coast of the United States, and other island nations, including the Solomon Islands , on the west coast of North and South America.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story quoted the Australian Red Cross saying at least 16 people were killed. The Red Cross has confirmed that the death toll is incorrect and linked to a statement about a previous earthquake in Papua New Guinea that was released in error.


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