Major Quake, Papua New Guinea

A major undersea earthquake struck Papua New Guinea early this afternoon, New Zealand time.

Monday, 30th March 2015

A major earthquake struck beneath St Georges Channel in the northern Solomon Sea at 12:49 this afternoon, New Zealand Daylight Time. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake was centred between the islands of New Britain and New Ireland at a depth of 40 km according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS reports that the earthquake was centred 55 km south-east of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea (PNG), 281 km east north-east of Kimbe PNG, 787 km north-east of Port Moresby PNG.

Geoscience Australia reports the earthquake as magnitude 7.7 at a depth of 52 km. It estimates that the quake would have caused damage within 200 km of the epicentre and would have been felt up to 2500 km away.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued four bulletins for this event, reporting the quake as magnitude 7.6 at a depth of 33 km. Initially, the centre estimated that tsunami waves reaching 1 to 3 metres were possible along some coasts of Papua New Guinea, based on the depth and nature of the earthquake. However, in a bulletin issued at 15:30 NZDT, it was able to advise that the threat from the event had mostly passed. By that time a wave of 3 cm had been measured at Tarekukure Wharf in the Solomon Islands, 450 km from the earthquake epicentre, at 14:59 NZDT.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence issued a notice timed 13:15 NZDT advising that the earthquake was unlikely to have caused a tsunami that would pose a threat to New Zealand.

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