Tsunami Warning After Huge 7.7-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes off South Pacific Islands.
A TSUNAMI watch has been put into action for New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and other Pacific island after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific, and the Loyauté Islands located off the east coast of New Caledonia, just after midnight on Thursday local time (1320 GMT).
This was reported by the US geological monitoring service USGS and the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has said: “Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within the next three hours.”
The earthquake was centred at a depth of six miles southeast of the Loyalty Islands, about 415 kilometres (258 miles) east of Vao in New Caledonia, according to the US Geological Survey and comes after a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island – a strong offshore quake which hit about 217 kilometres south-southwest of the city of Bengkulu at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres at 7:52 pm local time (1252 GMT).
New Caledonia is located in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean, about 1,500 km east of Australia. The region encompassing New Caledonia and neighbouring Vanuatu is part of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, one of the most intense areas of earthquake activity on the planet. The Australian plate bearing New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands plunges under the Vanuatu Arc creating the Vanuatu Trench.
On February 7, the Southern Philippines, another in the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, was at the epicentre of a powerful level 6.0-magnitude quake that was plotted two kilometres east of Magsaysay on Mindanao island. The disturbance was recorded at a depth of 24.6 kilometres.
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