CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A strong, deep earthquake shook inland Papua New Guinea on Friday, and officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.
Shaking was felt in the capital Port Moresby but not strongly.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude quake was 80 kilometers (53 miles) deep. Shallower quakes tend to cause more surface damage.
The epicenter was close to Morobe Patrol Post, with a population of 15,000 in Morobe province. Locals reported on social media the wharf at Morobe Patrol Post had “cracked in half.”
Some damage was reported on social media in coastal villages. Residents were advised to go inland if there were any sign of tidal changes or irregular ocean patterns.
Mark Maniaol, a hotel employee in Lae, the capital of Morobe and the country’s second-largest city, said he left the quake but it was not severe. He was not aware of any damage in the city.
The Morobe Provincial Disaster Office Director Charley Masange said he did not expect to receive damage reports from the epicenter until Saturday.
“The epicenter is in the mountains. Not many people live there and it’s very remote so it takes a long time to get information,” Manage said. “I’m not expecting major damage.”
Papua New Guinea is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because it lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the string of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s seismic activity occurs.
The center was checking for more information from people in the remote area struck by the quake.
No tsunami warning was issued, and the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the threat had passed.