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7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Papua New Guinea's 'Ring of Fire'

Increasing fears of a natural disaster following seismic eve

By: Jay Greenberg  |@NeonNettle
 on 26th February 2018 @ 7.51am
the earthquake struck in the  ring of fire  region of papua new guinea © press
The earthquake struck in the 'Ring of Fire' region of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has been struck by a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake just moments after a smaller seismic event struck Japan.

The quake has raised increasing fears of a natural disaster impacting the region knows as the 'Ring of Fire'.

The earthquake struck the heart of the island near the near the Southern Highlands area and registered as 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale, with tremors felt across the entire region.

The quake hit at a depth of 10km at around 4 am local time (6 pm GMT).

A further 26 tremors, all with an average magnitude of five, continued to hit the islands in the aftermath of the initial hit.

No damage or injuries caused by the substantial seismic event have yet been reported.

The so-called 'Ring of Fire' is a hotbed of seismic activity surrounding a tectonic plate that spans the Pacific where Papua New Ginuea rests.

While the danger caused by the quake is assessed, oil and gas companies have been forced to immediately suspend operations in the region.

Express reports: ExxonMobil Corp said it had shut its Hides gas conditioning plant, close to the quake's epicenter, to look into what damage had been caused.

ExxonMobil's PNG spokeswoman said: “All of ExxonMobil PNG Limited's employees and contractors at its Hides facilities have been accounted for and we are pleased to report they are all safe.”

PNG oil and gas explorer Oil Search also said they had shut their production outlet.

Despite the magnitude of the huge quake, officials have confirmed there is no risk of a resultant tsunami.

A statement from the US’ Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: “An Earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 occurred in New Guinea, Papua New Guinea at 1745 UTC on Sunday, February 25, 2018.

“Based on all available data, there is no Tsunami threat from this earthquake."

In a statement released by the Prime Minister of the island in the hours after the incident, Peter O’Neill said: “The National Government has dispatched disaster assessment teams to parts of Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province following an earthquake in the early hours of this morning.

“The National Disaster Centre is working with provincial authorities to assess any damage and impacts on service delivery in the area.”

He added that those affected by the quake would receive support from Government services and that an assessment process was underway.

He added: “It is advisable to stay out of multi-story buildings, to beware of the potential of landslides, and to be prepared to move to open ground in the event that an aftershock is felt.”

The quake follows another seismic event in Japan, where a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck just hours before.

Japan’s earthquake occurred some 78 miles from Honshu off the island's east coast but was felt in several cities including Tokyo and Fukushima.

Tokyo and Fukushima are some 176 miles apart - equivalent to a three-and-a-half hour drive away.

But while the earthquake's center was closer to Fukushima, where the nuclear disaster of the same name took place in 2011, the tremor was still felt further south in the island in the city of Tokyo.

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