Tsunami warning issued after 7.6 quake off New Caledonia

Tsunami warning issued after 7.6 quake off New Caledonia

A powerful magnitude-7.6 quake has struck in the southern Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia, prompting authorities on the French territory to order the evacuation of coastal areas after a tsunami warning was issued for nearby islands.

Meanwhile, waves of up to 3ft were possible in Fiji.

"There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the 7.6 magnitude quake southeast of Loyalty Islands", it stated.

"Hazardous tsunami waves from this natural disaster are possible within 1,000 km (600 miles) of the epicenter along the coasts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia", the PTWC said.

Tsunamis at minimal levels vary with slightly higher waves with minimal landfalls, and usually up to five minutes apart.

A tsunami warning was issued for the area by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, warning of waves of up to 3m high, but in its latest message said the tsunami threat had "largely passed".

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned surges of up to three metres (10 feet) could be expected and shallow quakes of that magnitude can be devastating.

A magnitude 7.6 quake, just 10kms deep (according to the USGS) has hit near Noumea, New Caledonia north of New Zealand.




New Caledonia is part of the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", where many earthquakes occur.

The quake struck at a depth of 10km at 04:18 GMT, with its epicentre 168km east-south-east of Tadine, a town on one of New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands.

Basile Citre, a municipal official on the Loyalty Island of Mare, said the situation there was so far under control.

"The building shook, but there was no damage", he told AFP.

New Caledonia, a French overseas territory, has a population of about 259,000. "For now, nothing serious has happened".

But the centre later reported waves measured by its monitors around the region only reached about 72 centimetres (2.4 feet) on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu.

"We get a lot of earthquakes every year", he said.

The epicentre was some 300 kilometres east of Noumea.

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