Tsunami warning lifted after magnitude 7.9 earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea

A tsunami warning issued after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Sunday afternoon has now passed.

The earthquake rocked the island of Bougainville at 3.30pm Sydney time.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued an alert saying "widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible" for some coastal areas of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The warning was withdrawn after the tsunami threat passed on Sunday evening.

The quake struck at a depth of 136 kilometres, about 47 kilometres west of Arawa on Bougainville island, Papua New Guinea, the United States Geological Survey reported on Sunday.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no threat to Australia.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, although it is a remote area.

Loti Yates, the director of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office, said people had been told to move to higher ground in Choiseul and Western Province.

"We are also worried about damage from the earthquake," Mr Yates told Reuters by phone from the capital of Honiara, adding that his office was trying to contact communities closest to the quake's epicentre.

Chris McKee, assistant director at PNG's Geophysical Observatory Office in Port Moresby, said there were no initial reports of damage from near the epicentre of the quake, which is sparsely populated.

"Because of the great depth of the earthquake it is unlikely that there will be any significant tsunami activity," McKee told Reuters.

Bougainville and the nearby Solomon Islands are in the Pacific's geologically active "Ring of Fire".

The earthquake was recorded at magnitude 8.4 but was later downgraded to 7.9.

More to come

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With agencies

This story Tsunami warning lifted after magnitude 7.9 earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.