Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake Hits Pacific Near New Caledonia

Earthquake Threatens Pacific 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...

Earthquake Threatens Pacific 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 Center said tsunami waves of between 3 ft and 10 ft were possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while waves of up to 3 ft were possible in Fiji.

The warning center 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.

Earthquakes are generally more destructive when the epi-center 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. 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 traveled 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.”

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