A 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit off the eastern coastline of Papua New Guinea on Saturday. The people who live in this region had evacuated to a higher terrain in order to stay safe. Due to the earthquake, there was a tsunami warning in affect for this region because of the huge tremor that was detected. A couple of hours afterwards, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center stated that the threat has now passed. However, government agencies are still being encouraged to continue observing the coastal tides just in case.
The whole Pacific region was warned that a Tsunami could strike, especially in the Solomon Islands and Indonesia. The United States Geographical Survey at first thought there was an 8 magnitude earthquake, but then they downgraded it to a 7.9. It might not seem like a huge difference, but it is when calculating the strength of an earthquake. The townspeople of Bougainville and other autonomous regions will typically flee to higher ground whenever there is a tsunami or earthquake warning. It doesn’t take long for everyone to evacuate the entire town, since they are used to it.
Papua New Guinea is no stranger to earthquakes so the residents are certainly prepared and already know what to do when one occurs. The reason this country gets hit so much with earthquakes is because it lies on what is called the “Ring of Fire,” which symbolizes an area where tectonic plates in the ground have a lot of friction. This makes it a hotspot for all kinds of seismic activity.
Fortunately, there have been no reported deaths or injuries from the earthquake. There haven’t even been reports of damage to property either. So, it appears like the townspeople got lucky this time around. Although, a nurse who works at Buka General Hospital said that the whole building felt like it was going to topple at any moment. All of the patients in the hospital were moved to higher grounds in case this did happen.