New Zealand issues tsunami alert after 7.7-magnitude earthquake near New Caledonia

The epicentre of the earthquake

The epicentre of the earthquake  

New Zealand and Australia issued tsunami warnings after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday. The earthquake was recorded near the Loyalty Islands and France’s overseas territory of New Caledonia, the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) said.

The epicentre was located around 400 kilometres southeast of the Loyalty Islands archipelago and about 430 kilometres from Vanuatu, USGS added. The National Emergency Management Agency in New Zealand has issued a national advisory for tsunami activity, but they do not expect land near the shores to be flooded by waves. “We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore,” the agency said.

Citizens on the north coast of the North Island are advised to move away from beaches, harbours, rivers, and estuaries. “Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people,” the authorities said. “But coastal inundation or the flooding of land areas near the shore is not expected as a result of this event. New Zealand says they expect strong currents to reach the North Cape at around 04:20 local time (16:20 CET) and warn that the first tsunami activity may not be the most significant. Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has also issued a “marine threat” for several hours for Lord Howe Island, but not for the mainland.

The US Tsunami Center has said there is no tsunami danger to the west coast states and Canada. The Pacific Tsunami Warning System, meanwhile, reported potential waves of between 30 centimetres and one metre off the coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, and Fiji. The area encompassing New Caledonia is close to the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most seismically active areas on the planet.

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