Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Tsunami warning issued after 7.6-magnitude quake strikes in South Pacific

Earthquake New Caledonia Credit USGS Magnitude 7.6 earthquake near Loyalty Islands, no tsunami threat to New Zealand
Doris Mccormick | 05 December, 2018, 13:27

THERE is no tsunami threat to Australia following today's earlier magnitude 7.6 natural disaster off the east coast of New Caledonia, but authorities warn "hazardous waves" are possible.

"Hazardous tsunami waves from this quake are possible within 1000 km of the epicenter along the coasts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia", the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

"The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has assessed the information with the assistance of scientific advisors".

Authorities said the quake, followed by at least 20 strong aftershocks, was centred about 170 kilometres (100 miles) southeast of New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands at a depth of just 10 kilometres.

A major natural disaster Tuesday night struck the territory of New Caledonia, sparking tsunami alerts.

The French territory, comprising of dozens of islands, is around 1,500 miles north of New Zealand.

Residents of New Caledonia received text messages directing them to go to refuges immediately.

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The quake made impact at 3.18pm local time in New Caledonia.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warns that three-metre high tsunami waves are possible on some coasts along Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Mr McGarry said he felt the quake where he is based in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, as a mild shaking.

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

"Hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts", the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, after earlier warning that the danger zone included "coasts located within 1000 kilometres of the natural disaster epicentre".

Last month, voters in New Caledonia elected to remain a territory of France rather than becoming independent.

It sits along the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and numerous world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

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