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A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the middle of Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck about 55 miles southwest of Porgera in the Pacific island nation at a depth of about 23 miles, according to the agency.

The Geological Survey website had 19 reports of feeling the quake, including some saying the shaking was violent.

he quake on Sunday was just the latest spark of activity this year along the volatile "Ring of Fire" seismic fault system.


More than half the world's active volcanoes located above ground are in this ring, according to the USGS.

ring of fire

A map showing the "Ring of Fire," where more than half of the world's active volcanoes above sea level encircle the Pacific Ocean.  (USGS)>

The region is the location of most of Earth's subduction zones, where oceanic plates slide under the lighter continental plates. Earthquakes tend to happen when those plates scrape or subside underneath each other, and, when that happens at sea, it can trigger tsunamis.

Last month, activity in the volatile region included volcanic eruptions in Japan and the Phillipines, and an earthquake off the coast of Alaska.

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