Tsunami alert after 6.5 earthquake near Papua New Guinea

Graphic explains the devastating power of a tsunami wave
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Tsumami Warning - A strong Richter scale 6.5-magnitude earthquake has struck beneath the sea off Papua New Guinea US seismologists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center have advised, prompting a local tsunami alert.

There have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the earthquake, which hit at 4:37am (local time) at a depth of 27 miles (43 kilometres).

The epicentre was about 76 miles (122 km) west of Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. It occurred at a depth of 27 miles (43 km) USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre statement says 'Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100km of the earthquake epicentre.

Reports are likely to come in in the next few hours as dawn has broken in the Solomon Islands and PNG.

In July 1998 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the north coast region of Papua New Guinea, 16 miles (25 kilometres) from the coast near Aitape, and caused a large undersea landslide, which in turn caused a tsunami that hit the coast, killing more than 2200 people.