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A severe earthquake shook Papua New Guinea

At 3:04 a.m. local time on Monday, a strong earthquake shook the Pacific country, the center of which was at Lake Chambri, about 37 kilometers east of Ambunti and 96 kilometers southwest of Wewak, the capital of East Sepik province.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake had a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale, which is a significant drop compared to previous estimates of 7.3 and 7.9, reports the local BNO News.

“Based on all available data, no destructive tsunami threat is expected across the entire Pacific Ocean,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.

Official data on damage or casualties in the remote area was not immediately available. The USGS estimated that up to 4.5 million people felt the quake, including 466,000 people who felt a “strong” or “very strong” tremor.

Earthquakes rarely cause major damage in the mountainous country on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” because they build lightweight, flexible houses due to frequent ground movements. This allows buildings to bend rather than crack in larger earthquakes.

However, earthquakes in Papua New Guinea are capable of causing larger landslides.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea in September 2022, killing at least 21 people and injuring dozens more. In 2018, a series of strong earthquakes shook the country, killing at least 200 people. Many deaths were caused by landslides.

Cover image: Getty Images/Marc Dozier.