Powerful earthquake strikes off PNG coast

THE US Geological Survey has revealed a powerful earthquake has struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea at the weekend.

Sky News Australia reported the 7.5-magnitude quake struck 75km south-west of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island at a depth of 30 km on Saturday (April 19) just before 11.30pm.

Seismologists said another 5.6-magnitude quake hit the same area about 20 minutes later at a depth of 69km.

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