UPDATE 11:00 p.m. CST: Ten people have reportedly been killed in the quake. Additional details are included below.
Just minutes after Japan suffered a minor quake, a larger, far more dangerous earthquake hit. The strength of the quake – at least 7.5 in magnitude – is causing concern that damage and casualties could be much worse than originally reported.
The earthquake hit in the heart of the island country of New Guinea, in the Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. New Guinea, just north of Australia, sits on the “ring of fire,” the volatile area of the Pacific known for volcanoes and earthquakes.
Although communication networks into the two provinces have been cut off, reports through satellite communication by Hela Provincial Administrator William Bando reveal that about 10 people have been killed while thousands of properties have been destroyed.
Mr Bando said it is a very severe disaster as many lives have reportedly been lost.
It is believed that the earthquake started around Kiunga and affected lives and properties in Hela and Southern Highlands while other provinces also felt the effect of the quake.
Mr Bando said the Komo Airport is believed to be damaged as half of the airfield has been destroyed.
The PA is now meeting with the department of inter-government relations in relation to the disaster.
According to new information received at (11:30am) the quakes have resulted in homes and properties being buried as the ground opened up and sank. Reports are yet to be confirmed but the situation looks severe.
Furthermore, schools in both provinces and in other provinces along the fault line have suspended classes indefinitely.
Oil Search Limited, the developer of Oil and gas developments in Hela and Southern Highlands said at 03.44 (PNG local time) on 26 February 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the PNG Highlands. There have also been a series of aftershocks.
The company said in an email that Oil Search’s primary concern is the safety of their employees and contractors and that no injuries have been reported on their end as yet.
Oil Search said as a precautionary measure and in order to assess any damage to facilities, Oil Search’s production operations in the PNG Highlands are in the process of being shut-down.
Papua, New Guinea has been rocked by a huge 7.5 magnitude earthquake just moments after a smaller seismic event struck Japan, increasing fears of a natural disaster impacting the dangerous region dubbed the ‘Ring of Fire’.
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the heart of the island near the near the Southern Highlands area, with tremors felt across the nearby region.
The phenomenon hit at a depth of 10km at roughly 4am local time (6pm GMT).
It is currently unclea rif any damage or injuries were cause by the substantial siesmic event.
Papua New Ginuea rests on the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ – a hotbed of seismic activity surrounding a tectonic plate that spans the pacific.
Despite the magintude 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.”
The quake follows another seismic event in Japan, where a 5.5 magintude 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 – equivilant to a three-and-a-half hour drive away.
But while the earthquake’s centre 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.
This tweet shows the quake’s location.
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) February 25, 2018
This tweet shows how the quake registered on a seismograph.
Mag. 7.5 earthquake, Papua, New Guinea. 12:44 pm EST. First wave arrived right on time, 20 minutes later. More later. pic.twitter.com/U5E40MrLlo
— Brad Timerson (@btimerson) February 25, 2018