Earthquake of magnitude 7 hits Papua New Guinea: USGS
A technician of the French National Seism Survey Institute (RENASS) presents a graph of an earthquake. (AFP)

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck remote New Britain island in Papua New Guinea on Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said.

The quake hit about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of the town of Rabaul, just before 7 a.m. local time (2100 GMT Wednesday) and was given an initial magnitude of 7.3.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that hazardous waves were possible on coasts within 300 km (186 miles) of the epicenter.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook, editing by G Crosse