A tsunami was generated on Wednesday evening after a powerful undersea earthquake struck north of New Zealand in the South Pacific region.
The 7.7 magnitude earthquake was centered at a depth of 10 km southeast of the Loyalty islands, said the US Geological Agency. The shaking, however, was not expected to cause significant damage or fatalities on land.
The US Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings of possible tsunami waves ranging from 0.3 to 1 meters (1 to 3.3 feet) for Vanuatu and Fiji. A tsunami watch was issued and then cancelled for American Samoa.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, on Twitter, confirmed a tsunami had been generated and warned of a threat to Lord Howe Island, about 550 kms east of Australia’s mainland.
The New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency, in a statement, asked people in coastal areas to move away. The disaster agency said that it expects the shore areas to experience “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore.”
The fishermen in India’s Tamil Nadu, especially those in the Gulf of Mannar region, were also reportedly cautioned against venturing into the sea.
So far, there are no reports of casualties or damages due to the tsunami or the quake.
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.