SYDNEY – A magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit central Papua New Guinea on Monday, followed by another of 7.5 in the same region a few hours later, the United States Geological Survey said.
The authorities mobilized troops and rescue teams but they have yet to provide information about material damage or possible victims owing to the terrain of the region.
The first earthquake took place at a depth of 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) and its epicenter was located some 90 km to the south of Porgera, in Enga province, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The multinational ExxonMobil stopped all work in its gas plant to assess possible damage to the installations and confirmed in a statement that all employees were safe.
Landslides forced Ok Tedi mining company to halt its operations.
Pictures on social media showed roads cutoff and parts of the mining company’s installations damaged.
Later during the day, a second tremor, at a depth of 23 km, rocked the highland provinces, inhabited by close to 2 million people and difficult to access by road.
The country sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is hit by around 7,000, mostly moderate, earthquakes every year.