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Strong earthquake shakes Papua New Guinea, no damage

ANGORAM, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (BNO NEWS) -- A strong earthquake struck on land near the north coast of New Guinea in Papua New Guinea on early Monday morning, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. No tsunami warnings were issued.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake at 8:41 a.m. local time (2241 GMT Sunday) was centered about 104 kilometers (64 miles) south-southeast of Angoram, a town in a district which carries the same name in East Sepik Province. It struck about 77.3 kilometers (48 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Geoscience Australia said such an earthquake could potentially cause damage up to 45 kilometers (27.9 miles) from the epicenter, but there are no large towns or cities within that range. USGS computer models estimated that some 2.4 million people in the region may have felt light to moderate shaking.

Earthquakes in the mountainous nation of Papua New Guinea, which is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', do rarely cause damage or casualties as most structures in the region are light and flexible. This allows them to bend, rather than snap when a major earthquake happens.

In December 2011, a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck near the town of Wau in Morobe province. The earthquake was felt as far away as the capital Port Moresby, about 221 kilometers (137 miles) south-southeast of the epicenter, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

Most notably, in July 1998, a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck just off the north coast of the country's island of New Guinea, causing a landslide which resulted in a local tsunami. The disaster left at least 2,183 people killed and thousands more injured.

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