National Weather office unable to send out alert
BY MEROLYN TEN
EARTHQUAKE and tsunami warnings were unable to be dispensed by the PNG National Weather Service after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre confirmed the natural hazards.
The National Weather Service assistant director, forecasting and warning centre, Jimmy Gomoga said the office was incapable of issuing any threat as there was no severe signal on its system since yesterday.
“We were aware that there was a tsunami threat issued yesterday afternoon by the US Geological Survey after a major magnitude of 8.0 earthquake struck West Panguna in Bougainville, however, our system cannot monitor earthquakes and tsunamis,” he said.
Mr Gomoga said Papua New Guinea receives earthquakes and tsunami warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in the United States.
Assistant director at PNG’s Geophysical Observatory Office in Port Moresby Chris McKee said the greatest tsunami threat had been to Bougainville and that threat had passed without any report of a tsunami.
“I suspect that because of the great depth of the earthquake, there was probably no significant tsunami,” Mr McKee said.
However, according to a report, Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre warned that waves of between 0.3 and one metre (1-3 feet) above tide level were possible for some coastal areas of PNG and the neighbouring Solomon Islands.
“Even though it is quite deep at 150 kilometres, because it is such a large earthquake, it will produce shaking on the surface,” Geoscience Australia seismologist Spiro Spiliopoulos told AFP.
Earthquakes are common near Papua New Guinea, which lies on the 4000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate.
It forms part of the “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.
The Bureau of Meteorology also confirmed that there was no tsunami threat to Australia.