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7.0-magnitude quake hits off Papua New Guinea: USGS
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 17, 2012

Quake sends Indonesians fleeing from Aceh parliament
Banda Aceh, Indonesia (AFP) April 17, 2012 - A moderate earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island Tuesday, US seismologists said, sending people running in fear from Aceh province's parliament.

The 5.1-quake hit at 10:24 am (0324 GMT) at a depth of around 42 kilometres (26 miles), 80 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital Banda Aceh, the US Geological Survey said.

"The epicentre was located in the sea and was felt by people in Banda Aceh," said Arif Achir of Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, adding there was no tsunami threat or immediate reports of damage.

An AFP correspondent said the quake lasted around 45 seconds, sending people running from parliament and children from classrooms.

Aceh province was shaken last Wednesday by two huge earthquakes that triggered an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami alert.

At a magnitude of 8.6, the first of the two quakes was the strongest to hit since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 170,000 in Aceh. No major damage was reported.

A 7.0-magnitude quake struck off the northeast of Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no tsunami warning issued.

The quake hit at 5:13 pm (0713 GMT) 141 kilometres (88 miles) north of the country's second largest city of Lae and 443 kilometres from the capital Port Moresby at a depth of 201 kilometres, it said.

"A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.

Geoscience Australia measured the quake at 6.8 magnitude and at a depth of 215 kilometres but agreed it was unlikely to generate dangerous waves in the developing Pacific island nation.

"It's pretty deep so it's not a tsunami threat we believe, even though it's slightly offshore," Geoscience Australia seismologist Clive Collins told AFP.

Collins said there had been reports of the quake being felt as far away as Goroko, a highland region about 250 kilometres from the epicentre.

"There would be quite some shaking to the areas close by... because it's about 20 kilometres offshore," Collins said.

"So it's obviously been felt in a wide area around Papua New Guinea, which you would expect from something that big."

Quakes of such magnitude are common in impoverished PNG, which sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

"That northern part of Papua New Guinea is subject to quite strong earthquakes reasonably frequently," Collins said, adding that the biggest risk in the mountainous country was generally from landslips caused by tremors.

"There are very steep valleys and if it's been wet you get landslides which generally cause trouble. But I think this being a little bit offshore it may not be such a problem," he said.

"Of course it will be a while before we know that."

A giant tsunami in 1998 killed more than 2,000 people near Aitape, on the country's northwest coast.

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Strong 6.5 earthquake rumbles off Chile coast
Santiago (AFP) April 17, 2012 - A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of central Chile late Monday but does not appear to have generated a major tsunami, according to US monitors.

The quake sent tremors through the Chilean capital Santiago, sparking concern and causing power outages, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, according to witnesses and local authorities.

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) ordered the precautionary evacuation of coastal areas from the northern town of Coquimbo to the southern region of Maule, but the navy said the earthquake was unlikely to cause a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 11:50 pm (0350 GMT Tuesday) some 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Valparaiso, Chile at a depth of 25.9 kilometers (16.1 miles).

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based in Hawaii, said there was no threat of a "destructive, widespread tsunami."

"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the earthquake epicenter," it said in a statement.

A massive earthquake off Chile on February 27, 2010 generated devastating tsunami waves, killing more than 500 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.


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Indonesia revises quake toll to 10 dead
Jakarta (AFP) April 13, 2012
Ten people died from the massive earthquake that struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island earlier this week, official sources said Friday, revising an earlier toll of five dead. Wednesday's 8.6-magnitude quake triggered an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami alert which caused little damage and few casualties. "According to the latest data 10 people died," National Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo ... read more

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