A tsunami alert warning of "dangerous" waves was issued to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands after a strong earthquake shook the region late Tuesday northeast of Kokopo. The Temblor was at a shallow depth of about 10 km.
Flat earthquakes tend to cause more damage to the earth's surface, but the USGS estimated that the damage and injuries would be small due to low population density.
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The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center originally said that "dangerous tsunami waves" from the quake within 950 kilometers of the epicenter along the Papuan coasts are possible be New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
"A tsunami is a series of waves," warned the agency in its reference. "The time between wave mountains can vary between 5 minutes and one hour. The danger may persist for many hours or more after the first wave. "
After about 90 minutes, the agency said that the tsunami threat had largely passed and no waves were observed, but there were no sea level gauges in the region for measurement. It was also warned that "minor sea level fluctuations of up to 0.3 meters above and below the normal tide may persist in the next few hours".
According to the agency, there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or Guam.
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Papua New Guinea is located in eastern New Guinea, east of Indonesia.
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake in February 2018 in the central region of the country killed at least 125 people and an additional 35,000 were expelled from their homes. The quake struck areas that are remote and undeveloped, and estimates of the extent of damage and injury were slow.
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Papua New Guinea lies before us the so-called "Ring of Fire" of the Pacific, a 25,000-mile long horseshoe-shaped ring that, according to the USGS accounts for about 90 percent of the world's earthquake.
The region is the location of most subduction zones on Earth. where oceanic plates slide under the lighter continental plates. As a rule, earthquakes occur when these plates scrape together or break down, and when it does, tsunamis can occur.
There are also 452 volcanoes in the region, more than 75 percent of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.
Associated Press contributed to this report.