Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Tsunami alert after New Caledonia quake

Tsunami alert after New Caledonia quake

A 7.5-magnitude quake shook off the coast of the Pacific island of New Caledonia, prompting warnings that tsunami waves of up to three metres can reach New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

New Zealand, which falls within the radius, is not under threat, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management declared via Twitter.

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.

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

PTWC said it did not pose a tsunami threat.

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

A magnitude 7.0 aftershock has struck off the coast of New Caledonia, hours after the French territory was hit by an quake.

The warning identified vulnerable areas including Vanuatu's Anatom Island, Esperitu Santo; New Caledonia's Noumea and Fiji's Suva.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) warned of possible hazardous tsunamis in the region following the shallow and powerful tremor on Wednesday.

New Caledonia is situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", which is an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where the majority of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.

"Based on that, we can say that this quake has generated a tsunami, but we don't know the impact and how far it could go onshore", seismologist Spiro Spiliopoulos told AFP.

Its citizens last month rejected independence in a referendum, though the vote revealed lower-then-expected support for remaining part of France.

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