Undersea tremor hits South Pacific, triggering tsunami warning

Published on : Friday, February 12, 2021

An undersea tremor recently struck South Pacific leading to tsunami alerts in New Zealand, Fiji and other Pacific islands. The 7.7 magnitude quake’s epicentre was 10km underwater and around 400km to the east of North Caledonia, according to authorities.

The earthquake that hit immediately after the midnight on Thursday, soon followed at least three other aftershock tremors – with magnitudes ranging from 5.7 to 6.1 – and all these happened in the South Pacific region within a span of just over an hour.

However, there were no immediate reports of damage near the epicentre in New Caledonia, John Ristau, a seismologist from GNS Science, a New Zealand research institute, said. A number of smaller earthquakes followed in the wake of the 7.7 magnitude quake around the same area southwest of Loyalty Islands, according to the US Geological Survey.

The US Tsunami Warning Centre issued tsunami watches for New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands following the largest tremor, which have now been removed. After the earthquake struck, the New Zealand agency told people to get out of the water and to stay away from beaches and harbours in areas from Ahipara to Bay of Islands, Great Barrier Island and from Matata to Tolaga Bay.

Australia issued a marine tsunami threat to Lord Howe Island, a marine reserve more than 700km northeast of Sydney, following the earthquake but said evacuations were not necessary.

The region is prone to earthquakes because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the ocean.

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