By Alphonse Aime (DWU Journalism Student)
The Rabaul Volcanological Observatory says last weekend’s 7.9-magnitude earthquake, although it was a big one, it didn’t affect volcano readings and its system.
Senior Volcanologist, Ima Itikarai from the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory says the earthquake that struck most parts of the New Guinea Island region on Saturday night had a high possibility of triggering a volcano eruption.
“ The earthquake can shake and disturb the magma reservoir, shaking it and disabling the system causing the volcano to erupt but it didn’t”, said Mr. Itikarai
The Earthquake struck at around 8:56pm, and lasted for at least 3 minutes, and was felt all thoughrout the New Guinea Island regions.
The epicentre is reported to be located off the southern coast of New Ireland province.
No major damages have been reported so far apart from minor power outage, reported by residents in Buka and East New Britain.
Meanwhile, a seismologist, Mathew Moihoi from the GeoHazard and Physical Observatory office in Port Moresby has confirmed no damages along coastal villages although a tsunami alert was issued shortly after the earthquake.
Mr. Moihoi said the quake happened 73 kilometres within the earth and has triggered minor waves.
“ We were lucky that the earthquake took place deep under the surface. If it happened in shallow areas along the coast we would have faced serious casualties,” Mr. Moihoi told EMTV News.
Last weekend’s earthquake is the biggest recorded so far this year in the New Guinea Island Region.
Last year an earthquake of similar magnitude hit East New Britain causing minor landslips and forcing cracks along roads and bridges.