Tsunami warning as magnitude 7.6 quake strikes off New Caledonia

Tsunami warning as magnitude 7.6 quake strikes off New Caledonia

A tsunami warning has been issued for all of the Pacific island of New Caledonia, after a shallow 7.6-magnitude natural disaster struck off the country's coast, prompting warnings that hazardous tsunami waves up to three metres high could reach New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

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. Earthquakes are generally more destructive when the epicentre is near the surface.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck about 104 miles east of Tadine at a shallow depth of six miles, followed by at least five aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.0.

The PTWC issued tsunami wave warnings for Anatom Island and Esperitu Santo in Vanuatu and Noumea in New Caledonia.

There were no immediate reports of deaths related to the initial natural disaster and according to the US Geological Survey modelling, damage from the quake is expected to be minimal in terms of loss of life.

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But people in New Caledonia and nearby Vanuatu said they did not feel the quake, and tsunami warning sirens were not immediately activated in Vanuatu.

According to the USGS, waves between three and nine feet above the tide level are possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

It spreads across 40,000km (25,000 miles) from the southern tip of South America all the way to New Zealand.

"The procedure is to ask people who work near the sea to move higher up", he said, adding that he had felt the quake, describing it a strong but not long-lasting shaking. "The tsunami warning was what was different this time, though".

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