On October 16th there was a magnitude 6.8 earthquake 64km WSW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea. Panguna is on the eastern island of Buka. The island is only 48km (30mi) long and (8km (5mi) wide. Discovered by the British in 1767, it became a German possession in 1884. In 1914, Australian forces occupied the island and included it in the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea in 1920. It has been part of independent Papua New Guinea since 1975.
Papua New Guinea is comprised of a group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia. As a whole, the country is slightly larger than California. Its climate is tropical, with monsoons in the northwest from December-March and in the southeast from May-October. The terrain consists mostly of mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills.
The natural resources of Papua New Guinea include: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, and fisheries. The varied hazards facing the country include: active volcanoes, along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; and tsunamis.
For more information about earthquakes, please visit the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program site.
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, CIA World Factbook, The Columbia Gazetteer, 10/2013; 8/2013; 10/2013