A 7.7-magnitude earthquake caused a small tsunami to wash ashore on islands in the South Pacific on Friday. No damage was reported and the threat passed within hours.
Waves at 2 feet above tide level were measured off Lenakel, a port city in Vanuatu, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Smaller waves were measured from coastal or deep ocean indicators elsewhere off Vanuatu and off New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Vanuatu’s National Office of Disaster Management has advised people to evacuate from coastal areas to higher ground. The office said people should listen to their radios for updates and take other precautions.
7.1 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE HIT REMOTE PACIFIC, NO TSUNAMI THREAT
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said it expects coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents, with unpredictable surges on the coast. The PTWC said small swells of 8 inches above the tides were measured at the North Cape, New Zealand.
The tsunami danger passed within hours, though the center said small changes in sea level could continue.
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The US Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was near the Loyalty Islands, a province in the French territory of New Caledonia. The quake was 23 miles deep.
The area is southwest of Fiji, north of New Zealand and east of Australia, where the Coral Sea meets the Pacific.
The region is part of the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.