More earthquakes shake the South Pacific

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Two more major earthquakes about 30-minutes apart, have struck in the countries of Papua New Guinea and Tonga, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Experts do not believe that the two quakes are related.

The first quake struck in Papua New Guinea on the small island of New Britain at 0312 UTC and had a magnitude of 6.2. The second quake, on the island nation of Tonga struck at 0336 UTC with a magnitude of 6.7. No injuries or damage have been reported from either of the quakes.

"They're probably unrelated, they just happened at the same time," said geophysicist with Hawaii's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, Barry Hirshorn. He also said that neither quake posed a tsunami threat.

"No destructive Pacific-wide tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," said a statement n the warning center's website.

However; the statement also said that large earthquakes like these could sometimes "generate tsunamis that can be destructive" within 100 km of the epicenters and added that cities in that range should be warned of the possibility and take "appropriate actions."

Just yesterday, a magnitude 6.3 quake struck the island of Java in Indonesia that killed over 3,000 people.

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