A magnitude 7.4 earthquake has struck the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea, the US Geological Survey said, setting off a tsunami warning within 300 km of the epicenter. The large earthquake struck 689km north-east of Port Moresby, the capital, at 11:44am AEST, at a depth of 63.1 km. The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 300km of the epicenter.

There were no immediate reports of waves being seen and no reports of damage, said Chris McKee, assistant director Geophysical Observatory in Port Moresby. “The earthquake is offshore and the nearby land areas are fairly sparsely populated,” McKee said. The US Geological Survey first reported the earthquake as magnitude 7.5, later revising it to 7.4. An aftershock measuring 5.9 was recorded 10 minutes later. The quake was centered in the same area as two earthquakes that rocked Papua New Guinea last week – a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on Friday, and a 6.7 on April 30. Neither of those quakes caused damage or generated a tsunami, but they were slightly lower in strength. Papua New Guinea sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common. The USGS has reported the magnitude of the earthquake as a 7.5 magnitude event. FULL REPORT