15 Apr 2013

6.6 magnitude quake hits Papua New Guinea

5:39 am on 15 April 2013

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has struck off Papua New Guinea, but a tsunami warning was not issued and no major damage was expected.

The United States Geological Survey reported the quake hit 105km west of Panguna, a town on Bougainville Island, at a depth of 64km.

"A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The ABC reports that quakes of such magnitude are common in PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Geoscience Australia measured the quake at a depth of 35 kilometres and said people on Bougainville would have felt it.

"It was a fair way out to sea but people would have got a pretty decent shake on the island," Geoscience seismologist Dave Jepsen said.

He said not much damage is expected because quakes are frequent in the region and houses tend to be built to withstand them.