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7.1-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Papua New Guinea

An earthquake measuring 7.1 magnitude hit Papua New Guinea on Wednesday afternoon, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The tremor struck at a depth of 75 miles, about 137 miles north-northwest of the capital Port Moresby at 3:05 p.m. local time.

Witnesses in Port Moresby told AFP that people came running out of buildings, power lines swayed and parked cars rocked.

"It was pretty strong. Everybody felt it. I was sitting in my car when it hit and it was rocking, rocking, rocking," an AFP photographer said.

According to Geoscience Australia, the tremor was not expected to create a tsunami.

"It's not tsunamigenic," seismologist Clive Collins said. "That's the assessment on the basis that it's about 2 miles inshore and also it's about 74 miles deep and that's too deep really to cause any tsunami problems."

But Collins said the quake could cause other problems for the nearest largest town, Wau, about 12 miles from the epicenter, and Lae, 55 miles away.

"It's in a mountainous area so there may be issues of landslides and things like that. That's what's the main problem in that particular part of Papua New Guinea," Collins said.

Papua New Guinea is regularly hit by earthquakes due to its proximity to the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire," a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.