Strong earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea, prompts tsunami alert

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has struck the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, seismologists say. A tsunami alert has been issued for nearby coastlines.

The earthquake, which struck at 7:25 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered in a mountainous region, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) east of Kimbe, which is the capital of West New Britain province.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the preliminary magnitude of Friday’s earthquake at 6.9, down from an initial estimate of 7.2. It struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami alert for local coastlines.

“Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

This is a breaking news alert. We’re working to gather more information.

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