Massive 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Papua New Guinea

| February 26 , 2018 , 12:11 IST

A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck central Papua New Guinea late on Sunday night reported by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Damage is still uncertain.

The USGS says the quake hit about 89 kilometres of a rural, jungle area near a mountain range of southwest Porgera in the Pacific island nation and had a depth of 35 kilometres.

The Geological Survey website had 19 reports of people feeling the quake, including some saying the shaking was violent.

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Chris McKee, director of Geohazards Management for the Papua New Guinea government, said tens of thousands of people live in the forested highlands region affected by the quake.

McKee said, "There seem to be quite a few reports of the quake being felt strongly."

While providing the details about the area, McKee said the area is home to several oil and gas operations and coffee plantations. Papua is the site of a large gold mine that generates work for more than 2,500 residents.

McKee said he expected to see more detailed reports of damage later in the day.

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He stated that the area is located along an earthquake zone known as the Papua Folding Belt, which is responsible for the Cordillera that forms the backbone of the nation

Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia. It is home to about 7 million people.

In January last year, an earthquake of 7.9 magnitudes had stoked Papua New Guinea and alerted a tsunami also. Three people were killed during the quake and one was injured.