A 7-magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific ocean near Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands on Thursday, triggering a brief tsunami warning for the region. The quake hit at a depth of 13 miles about 93 miles off Papua New Guinea, and 400 miles from Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands, at 7:10 a.m. UTC (3:10 a.m. EDT), according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The alert issued by the center said the threat was not expected to be Pacific-wide, but it warned there could be “hazardous waves” along the coasts of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea up to a meter high. The tsunami warning was lifted about an hour later.
“The earthquake appears to have not been as big as first estimated,” Chris McKee, assistant director of the Geophysical Observatory, said, according to the Associated Press (AP). “I think the threat from that event is basically passed now. So we’ll just wait for the next one.”
The newest quake follows two others in recent weeks, including a 7.4-magnitude quake that hit the island nation on Tuesday, causing minor damage, and another 7.7-magnitude quake that hit last week. Tsunami warnings were issued for both these quakes as well. Thursday’s quake was located in a different region of Papua New Guinea than the earlier ones, but McKee reportedly said the region has been unusually active.
“We think it’s probably something along the lines of just regional readjustment movements in one area allow stress to be redistributed and that allows other areas to rupture,” McKee said, according to the AP.