Strong earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea; tsunami possible

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) _ A strong earthquake has hit Papua New Guinea and raised the possibility of a tsunami.

The magnitude 7.0 quake struck Thursday morning about 118 kilometers (74 miles) east of Kimbe, West New Britain, on the Pacific island nation. It was followed by aftershocks of magnitude 5.7 and 5.9.

Just over an hour later, a magnitude 6.3 quake hit farther northeast on the island.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center oceanographer David Walsh says any tsunami from the earthquake would only affect areas immediately around the epicenter.

But scientists don’t have any tide gauges close to the where the earthquake happened, so are unable to say at this point whether tsunamis have been generated.

He says areas farther away are unlikely to be affected because of the earthquake isn’t “terribly large” and many are shielded by land masses and islands.