Powerful quake shakes Papua New Guinea, month after disaster

CANBERRA, Australia - A strong earthquake shook Papua New Guinea on Friday, a month after a more powerful quake killed at least 125 people in the Pacific island nation. Damage and casualties were not immediately reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the magnitude 7.2 quake may have caused small changes in the sea locally but the danger had passed within about an hour or so. There was no tsunami risk to Australia or the wider Pacific, according to the PTWC and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 6.9 with a depth of 35 kilometres (21) miles about 162 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Rabaul in a remote area of East New Britain province.

Justin Taylan, an American World War II historian, was in central Rabaul when the quake hit and was not aware of any major damage to the town.

"We were rocking and rolling. It was quite strong here, but we have no damage," Taylan said.

"It was definitely a long earthquake, as well as a number of aftershocks," he added.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake on Feb. 26 forced 35,000 out of damaged homes, injured dozens and brought work to a halt at four oil and gas fields. The work to repair roads and compile further damage assessments was slow in the remote region regularly hit by aftershocks.

Home to 7 million people, Papua New Guinea is east of Indonesia and north of Australia's east coast. It is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the string of seismic faults where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

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