File picture: Fabrizio Bensch

Sydney - A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Papua New Guinea in the Solomon Sea early Saturday, US geologists said.

The offshore quake hit at 1:00 am (1500 GMT Friday) and occurred 193 kilometres (119 miles) south of Taron on PNG, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The epicentre was at a depth of only 10 kilometres.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a widespread tsunami but cautioned that local tsunamis have been generated by earthquakes of similar size in the past.

Quakes are common in PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.