Major Quake, Solomon Sea

A major earthquake struck the Solomon Sea near Bougainville, Papua New Guinea this evening.

Thursday 7th May, 2015

A major undersea earthquake struck off the coast of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea this evening, at 7:10 p.m. New Zealand Standard Time. The magnitude 7.1 quake was centred 144 km south-west of Panguna, 156 km south-west of Arawa, Bougainville Island at a depth of 23 km according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS reports that this evening’s earthquake was centred 406 km south-east of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea where strong earthquakes have been experienced since April 30th, including a magnitude 7.5 quake on May 5th.

The USGS notes, “The May 7 earthquake has also been preceded by a series of moderate-to-large earthquakes on the portion of the plate boundary several hundred kilometers to the northwest over the past 6 weeks, beginning with a M 7.5 event on March 29, 2015, and continuing with another M 7.5 earthquake on May 5, 2015. The May 7 earthquake is also 75 km to the southwest of a M 7.5 earthquake in April of 2014, just offshore of the North Solomon Islands.”

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued three bulletins for this evening’s earthquake. Initially it was thought that the earthquake could have caused hazardous tsunami waves for coasts within 300 km of the epicentre, but within an hour it had determined that there was no longer a tsunami threat from the quake.

Geoscience Australia reports the earthquake as magnitude 7.1 at a depth of 23 km. It estimated that the quake would have caused damage within 110 km of the epicentre and would have been felt up to 1400 km away.

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