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Tsunami warnings issued after earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea coast

By
Daniel Uria
Tsunami warnings were issued in the area around Papua New Guinea after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the country's coast. No immediate damage was reported in Papua New Guinea and the tsunami warnings were eventually canceled for the surrounding areas.
 Screen capture/Google Maps
Tsunami warnings were issued in the area around Papua New Guinea after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the country's coast. No immediate damage was reported in Papua New Guinea and the tsunami warnings were eventually canceled for the surrounding areas. Screen capture/Google Maps

NEW IRELAND, Papua New Guinea, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Saturday prompting tsunami warnings in the area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck about 28 miles east of Papua New Guinea's New Ireland island at 8:51 p.m. local time, according to CNN.

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No immediate reports of damage were made and the effects of the quake did not reach the capital city of Port Moresby, ITV reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunamis were possible until about midnight local time along the coast of Papua New Guinea as well as the Solomon Islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Indonesia, Nauru, Kosrae and Vanuatu.

New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management did not issue evacuations but encouraged residents to avoid beach areas.

"We're continuing to assess the situation...at this stage we are advising New Zealanders to stay off the beaches, stay out of the water, not to go sightseeing and to listen to the radio and TV," a spokeswoman said.

The tsunami warnings for areas of New Zealand were later canceled. The PTWC said potential tsunami waves outside of Papua New Guinea would be about less then a foot.

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