Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea map
Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea map

Residents along Papua New Guinea's coastal areas fled to higher ground Saturday after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake with a depth of 103 kilometers struck the New Ireland region of the southwestern pacific nation.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for parts of the Pacific near the earthquake but the threat had largely passed a couple of hours later.

Many residents in northern parts of the region of Bougainville fled to higher ground amid continued government warnings of high coastal tides. Residents in other parts of Papua New Guinea said they did not feel the quake and no evacuation plans were in place.    

Quakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which is located in a hot spot known as the "Ring of Fire." High levels of seismic activity occur in the area due to friction between tectonic plates.

A devastating tsunami hit the neighboring Solomon Islands in 2013, leaving at least 10 people dead, thousands of others homeless and hundreds of homes destroyed.