March 1, 2018

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: A Massive 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocked The Nation On Monday, Leaving 30 Dead, 300 Injured, Extensive Property Damage Throughout The Island.

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written by AFP staff
Tuesday February 27, 2018

Sydney – More than 30 people are believed to have died after a powerful earthquake struck Papua New Guinea's (PNG) mountainous interior, a report said on Tuesday as details of "extensive" damage began to emerge.

The 7.5-magnitude tremor struck 90km south of Porgera in the Pacific nation's Enga province early on Monday, with two strong aftershocks rattling the rugged region.

Phone lines were largely cut, but the PNG Post Courier newspaper cited Hela provincial administrator William Bando as saying there were casualties.

It reported that at least 13 died in the Southern Highlands capital Mendi while 18 others were believed to have been killed in nearby Kutubu and Bosave.

Some 300 people were injured, it added, and properties damaged, with reports of landslides and sinkholes.

The Papua New Guinea Today website, quoting Catholic priest Pius Hal, said at least 10 died, including four children, in quake-triggered landslides.

AFP was unable to confirm the death toll.

A government assessment team was due to fly into the area on Tuesday to get a better idea of the impact, with the military mobilised to help restore services and infrastructure, the government's Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said in a statement.

"Information will be provided as this is made available from assessment teams in the area," he added.

'Houses ripped apart'

Hela governor Philip Undialu, who was in the capital Port Moresby, told The National newspaper there was widespread damage.

"The scale of damage, from information we are getting from the ground, is quite extensive," he said, adding that there were around 19 landslides between Mendi and the town of Mount Hagen.

"Our police station, courthouse, hospital ... even private houses have been ripped apart or sunk into the ground.

"It's going to be a massive recovery exercise."

The tremor hit at a depth of 35km around 03:45, US seismologists said, with aftershocks of 6.0 and 6.3 magnitude recorded.

Agnes Kep told the Post Courier she was asleep in Mendi when the quake struck.

"We could feel the house and the earth shaking, we wanted to run for the door and out of the house, but it was too late," she said, fearing that if they went outside "the ground might open up and swallow us".

The thatched roof on the house she was in collapsed "but we didn't care, we just clung to each other and waited for the shaking to stop".

"When we came out we barely recognised everything around us, nothing was familiar to us. The house or tree that was there wasn't there anymore," she added.

The region is home to oil and gas production. ExxonMobil PNG said buildings at its Hides Gas Conditioning Plant were damaged but all its staff were "safe and accounted for", with non-essential employees to be evacuated.

Australian resources company Oil Search on Monday said its operations in the area were being shut down as a precaution and for damage assessment, and there were no injuries reported among its staff so far.

Earthquakes are common in PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a hotspot for seismic activity., Australia
written by Associated Press staff
Wednesday February 28, 2018

Whole villages have been flattened and water sources spoiled by a powerful earthquake that killed at least 20 people in Papua New Guinea's remote, mountainous highlands.

The magnitude 7.5 quake rocked the rugged Southern Highlands province some 560 km northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, triggering landslides, damaging mining, gas and power infrastructure, and cutting communications.

Scores of aftershocks have hampered rescue efforts and rattled nervous villagers over the past two days, including a 6.0 tremor just before 1 pm local time registered by the US Geological Survey.

Most of the confirmed fatalities were in or around the provincial capital of Mendi and the town of Tari, according to authorities and residents contacted by Reuters.

"It's massive destruction," Stanley Mamu told Reuters by telephone from Tari, 40 km from the epicentre. One person was killed in Tari and another five were killed in a landslide in a nearby village, he said.

Australia has sent a C-130 military transport plane to help with aerial surveillance.

Miners and oil and gas companies are also assessing the damage, which includes ensuring a 700-km gas pipeline that connects to a coastal liquefaction plant is intact.d.

A police officer in Mendi said landslides had buried homes and blocked a river residents worried could flood the town.

"We are really in deep fear," said police sergeant Naring Bongi. "It continues to be active. We didn't sleep well and stayed awake until daybreak ... no helicopters or government officials have come to our assistance."

Medical supplies, food and heavy equipment to clear landslides were also needed, said James Justin, a spokesman for provincial MP Manasseh Makiba.

"The casualties have yet to be confirmed but many more than 20 people have lost their lives," he said.


From  Update 11:49 UTC: Another Post Courier article is a SCREAM FOR (NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL ) AID

I've taken the following from Please visit their website to read the most recent updates:

Update Wednesday 10:56 UTC: We like more articles like this. Australia is ready to assist the PNG government.

Excerpt from article of the Post-Courier PNG
Update 23:36 UTC: Just in, this User I FELT IT experience report from Komo, New Guinea. This report comes from in the direct epicenter area and describes what happens if an MMI IX is experienced. 1 word: horror!

Update 23:40 UTC: Understanding the M7.5 massive New Guinea earthquake

The February 25, 2018, M 7.5 earthquake occurred as the result of thrust faulting at shallow a depth. Preliminary focal mechanism solutions indicate slip occurred on either a moderately dipping fault striking west-northwest, or on a moderately dipping fault striking southeast. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate is converging with the Pacific plate, moving towards the east-northeast with respect to Pacific lithosphere at a velocity of approximately 107 mm/yr. Earthquakes in this geographical region are generally associated with the large-scale convergence of these two major plates, and with the complex interactions of several associated microplates, most notably the South Bismarck plate, the Solomon Sea microplate, and the Woodlark plate. The location, depth, and focal mechanism solution of this earthquake are consistent with it occurring as intraplate faulting within the crust of the Australia plate.

While commonly plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are more appropriately described as slip over a larger fault area. Thrust-faulting events of the size of the February 25th, 2018 earthquake are typically about 85x30 km (length x width).

Papua New Guinea experiences a high rate of seismic activity, with 23 other events of M 6+ occurring within 250 km of the February 25, 2018 earthquake over the preceding century. The closest of these was a M 6.2 earthquake in August 1993, about 17km to the north of today's earthquake. The largest was a M 7.2 event in June 1986, 230 km to the north-northeast on or near the Australia:Pacific plate boundary in the region. With the exception of a M 7.5 earthquake at intermediate depth (186 km) in eastern Papua New Guinea in February 1963 (which occurred on the subduction zone at depth), all prior M 7.5+ earthquakes in this region have been associated with the shallow subduction zone plate boundaries in northern New Guinea. The vast majority of moderate-to-large earthquakes in this region are not known to have caused significant damage or casualties, though few have been as large as today's earthquake. A M 7.1 earthquake in June 1976, 340 km to the northeast of this event, resulted in over 400 shaking related deaths. Landsliding also caused a significant number of additional fatalities in that event.
Source : USGS

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