The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured magnitude 7.5 and was located 45 kilometers northeast of Kokopo.
It was centered at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers, it said.
Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, but the USGS estimated that damage and injuries would be low because of the sparse population. Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia.
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake in February 2018 in the nation's central region killed at least 125 people and forced another 35,000 from their homes.
That quake hit areas that are remote and undeveloped, and assessments about the scale of the damage and injuries were slow to filter out.
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