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No tsunami threat from magnitude 7.1 earthquake in South Pacific

By Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 6:37 a.m. HST, Apr 11, 2014

A powerful earthquake in the South Pacific did not generate a Pacific-wide tsunami that would threaten the Hawaiian islands, officials said Thursday night.

The magnitude 7.1 quake struck 38 miles southwest of Panguna, Papua New Guinea, at 6:07 p.m. Friday at the epicenter (9:07 p.m. Thursday Hawaii time), at a depth of about 31 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor was initially estimated at magnitude 7.3 but the USGS later downgraded its strength.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach issued a bulletin saying no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists. "However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter," the bulletin continued. "Authorities in the region of the epicenter should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action."

The magnitude 7.1 quake was followed by a magnitude 6.5 about 10 minutes later in the same area. There was also no Pacific-wide tsunami threat from the second earthquake, according to the PTWC.

A staffer at the Geophysical Observatory in the capital, Port Moresby, said no reports of damage or unusual wave activity along the coastline were received. The area closest to the epicenter is very sparsely populated.
Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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