Papua New Guinea earthquake: 8.0 magnitude strikes off Bougainville island, widespread tsunami warning

The authorities say the quake hit 47 kilometres west of Arawa on Bougainville island.

Massive 7.9 earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea, tsunami alert cancelled
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oceanographer David Walsh looks at computer graphs at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, October 7, 2009 Reuters

A massive earthquake of 8.0 magnitude hit 47 kilometres west of Arawa on Bougainville island, Papua New Guinea, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said on Sunday.

The initial reports suggested that the earthquake, which was recorded at around 8 am, struck at a depth of 154 km. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an advisory that the quake might cause "widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible". The warning has been issued for the next three hours along the coasts of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Vanuatu, Chuuk and Indonesia.

However, the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there is no threat to Australia and no tsunami warning has been issued for New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a zone of seismic activity and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. According to USGS, the nation witnesses earthquakes quite often as it lies in an area where the friction between tectonic plates produces unusually high seismic activity.

The ring stretches 25,000 miles from New Zealand, past Japan, across the Bering Strait and down to the tip of South America and includes more than 400 underwater volcanoes.

**This story is developing**