Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes in Pacific near New Caledonia
Authorities warned of a tsunami threat to nearby islands.
A powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake has struck in the southern Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia, prompting authorities to warn of a tsunami threat to nearby islands.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said tsunami waves of between 3ft and 10ft were possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while waves of up to 3ft were possible in Fiji.
The warning centre said there was no threat to Hawaii.
According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck about 104 miles east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of six miles.
Prelim M5.7 Earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands Dec-05 04:41 UTC, updates https://t.co/XKz8tPANE2— USGS Big Quakes (@USGSBigQuakes) December 5, 2018
Earthquakes are generally more destructive when the epicentre is near the surface.
At least five aftershocks also hit, ranging in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.0.
New Caledonia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.
#Tsunami waves have been observed from the 7.6 mag. #earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands. Wave heights of 1 to 3 m possible in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, and 0.3 to 1.0 m in Fiji. No tsunami threat to any other coasts at this time.https://t.co/kYQGMK7DyC— NWS PTWC (@NWS_PTWC) December 5, 2018
Dan McGarry, the media director at the Vanuatu Daily Post, said he heard only of three small wave surges hitting the southern island of Aneityum.
He said the waves travelled only a couple of meters beyond the normal tidal waves, and that everybody was fine on the island.
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.
“The tsunami warning was what was different this time, though.”