Powerful earthquake near New Caledonia
A strong earthquake shakes the South Pacific. At first there is great concern about a tsunami with meter-high waves – but then it goes off lightly.
Noumea. After the violent 7.7-magnitude earthquake near the New Caledonia archipelago, the danger of dangerous tidal waves has been averted: a few hours after the tremor in the South Seas, the early warning system in the USA lifted its tsunami warning again. First there was a warning for New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, among others.
After initial talk of possibly up to three meter high waves in Vanuatu, the authority later put the information into perspective. Eventually the warning was lifted altogether. According to the USGS, there were numerous aftershocks in the region with magnitudes of up to 5.9.
Authorities in Vanuatu had advised residents across the archipelago to take immediate precautions and move from coastal areas to higher elevations. In New Caledonia, too, people have been asked to leave coastal areas.
The emergency agency in New Zealand tweeted that it was closely monitoring the situation. “We anticipate that coastal areas of New Zealand will experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable coastal tides,” it said. According to the local meteorological authority, there was no threat to Australia.
The quake struck more than 37 kilometers south-east of the Loyalty Islands, which are part of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. Around 18,000 people live on the islands of the archipelago. New Caledonia with 270,000 inhabitants is located in the southern Pacific, 1500 kilometers east of Australia and north of New Zealand.
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