Two strong earthquakes struck near the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, but did not generate tsunamis, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck deep in the ocean north of the Solomon Islands at 8:35 a.m., Hawaii time, 68 miles northeast of Taron, Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The epicenter was at a depth of about 235 miles, according to USGS.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist Gerard Fryer said the quake struck so deep that could not have generated a tsunami.
A second magnitude 6.8 quake hit the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea about 2 hours later. It was centered about 18 miles northwest of Kandrian, Papua New Guinea at a depth of abut 38 miles. That quake also did not generate a tsunami, Fryer said.
“The earlier one, the big earth quake, the 7.3, that was a little bit unusual in that it was deep, and big earth quakes that deep are kind of unusual,” Fryer said.
Fryer said the quake was so deep it likely did little to no damage to the New Ireland region, but that it would be a while before the center heard from smaller islands that are closer to the epicenter.