Sydney (AFP/APP): A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook a remote region of northwestern Papua New Guinea before dawn Monday, toppling a few homes but with no immediate reports of casualties.
The quake struck at a depth of 62 kilometres (38 miles) near the Chambri Lake system in the sparsely populated region of East Sepik Province, the US Geological Service said.
“So far, we have lost a few houses, it is fortunate for us that no life (is) lost,” a member of parliament in the area, Johnson Wapunai, said in a message on social media.
“Chambri lake is boiling and the continuous quake is still happening right now,” he wrote more than five hours after the quake, which occurred at about 4:00 am local time.
The lawmaker urged people to watch out for falling objects or trees and to be on alert for further seismic activity.
- No tsunami warning was issued.
The quake cracked interior floors and lifted outside paving stones at a new regional hospital that was nearing completion about 60 kilometres away, photographs taken by a doctor at the scene showed.
Loosening of soft ground in the quake zone can cause substantial subsidence and horizontal sliding of the ground and result in major damage, the USGS said.
The earthquake shook an area about 100 kilometres east of the border with Indonesia on the island of New Guinea.
The remote New Britain region, part of an archipelago in eastern Papua New Guinea, was struck by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake in late February.