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The epicentre was estimated to be about 120km deep, between New Ireland and the island of Buka in northern Bougainville, the observatory's assistant director Ima Itikarai said.
It was difficult to say if residents of small islands in the Feni and Green groups closest to the quake's epicentre had been affected.
There was no telephone communication with the islands but it was possible bush material houses could have been damaged during the shaking, Itikarai said.
Geoscience Australia, which also measured the quake at 7.3, said its epicentre was around 95km below the earth's surface.