(CTN News) – An earthquake measuring 7.7 magnitude struck the Pacific Ocean southeast of New Caledonia on Friday, triggering a tsunami warning for states in the region. However, the alert was lifted three hours after issue, according to officials.
As far as the US Geological Survey is concerned, the earthquake had a depth of 37 kilometers.
The US National Tsunami Warning Center has reported that the epicentre of the earthquake was near the Loyalty Islands in the French Territory of New Caledonia, to the west of Fiji and Vanuatu, and that, based on all available information, the tsunami threat from the earthquake has passed.
In an earlier statement, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) warned of the possibility of a “devastating tsunami” based on preliminary earthquake parameters for the coasts within 1,000km (620 miles) of the epicentre of the earthquake.
As well as recommending people in threatened coastal areas be careful, the PTWC also noted that waves up to 3 metres (10 feet) above tides are likely for Vanuatu and urged them to stay alert.
The center predicted smaller waves to hit Fiji, New Caledonia, Kiribati, and New Zealand.
As stated by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, an earthquake of this magnitude has the potential to produce “destructive tsunami waves” of 1-3 metres (3-10 feet) that could cause damage to the coastline of Vanuatu if they hit the country.
In addition to that, Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office also advised people to “take appropriate action and precautionary measures,” including “immediate evacuation from coastal areas to higher ground if necessary.”
There were warnings of tsunamis in New Caledonia, and police started evacuating the coast following tsunami warnings.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that there was no threat of a tsunami to the country; however, Lord Howe Island, located in the Tasman Sea, 780 kilometers (421 nautical miles) to the northeast of Sydney, has been put on alert.
There are warnings that strong and unusual currents and coastal surges can be expected along coastal areas in the coming days, however there is no need to evacuate coastal areas as flooding is not likely to occur.
The National Emergency Management Agency of New Zealand has noted this.
On Friday evening in New Zealand, there was a national advisory for New Zealanders advising their citizens to move into the water or away from beaches, shore areas, harbours, marinas, rivers or estuaries if they are in or near the sea.