7.5 magnitude quake prompts tsunami warning for New Caledonia, Vanuatu

The magnitude-7.6 quake struck off the Loyalty Islands off the east coast of New Caledonia

GOOGLE MAPSThe magnitude-7.6 quake struck off the Loyalty Islands off the east coast of New Caledonia

A powerful 7.5-magnitude natural disaster struck near New Caledonia on Wednesday (Dec 5), triggering a tsunami alert and emergency evacuations across a swathe of the South Pacific, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

"Hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1000 km [roughly 620 miles] of the quake epicenter", the service said.

Earlier this evening, New Zealand Civil Defence said there was no tsunami threat to New Zealand following a 7.6 natural disaster which struck near the Loyalty Islands at 5.18pm New Zealand time.

Those living on the west coast have been urged to remain vigilant.

The epicentre was around 155km (95 miles) southeast of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia's east coast.

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

But the centre later reported waves measured by its monitors around the region only reached about 72 centimetres (2.4 feet) on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu.

Mr Rene said so far there were no reports of a tsunami or damage in the Loyalty islands.

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Civil Defence is assessing whether a 7.6 magnitude natural disaster near Loyalty Islands will affect New Zealand.

Judith Rostain, a freelance journalist based in New Caledonia's capital, Noumea, said there was no damage to the city.

Several aftershocks have rocked the area following the strong quake, with one of 6.6 magnitude.

It 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.

Seismologists in Australia said they are monitoring the natural disaster.

The epicentre of the quake was some 300 kilometres east of the New Caledonia capital Noumea, but such was the force of the shock that experts said small tsunami waves may be observed as far away as Antarctica and Russian Federation.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no immediate risk of tsunami.

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