7.2 earthquake strikes near Vanuatu

It was 407km northwest of the capital, Port Vila.
It was 407km northwest of the capital, Port Vila.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake has struck Vanuatu.

Tsunami waves are possible for coasts within 300km of the epicentre, the Pacific Warning Centre says.

The earthquake was centered about 81km northwest of Port-Olry, a town in the Sanma province on the island of Espiritu Santo.

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It was 407km northwest of the capital, Port Vila.

There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

The Australian Government Bureau of Meterology says there is no tsunami threat to Australia.

The quake was 35km deep, the US Geological Survey said.

It first measured the quake at 10km deep.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Vanuatu sits on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.

In October last year, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Vanuatu.

The US Geological Survey stated the quake was 127km deep, 35km northeast of Port-Olry and 337km from the capital Port Vila.

However there was no tsunami warning as the quake was located too deep inside the earth.

Tarcisius Alguet from the Little Paradise Bungalows in Port Olry, told the Qatari-owned broadcaster that the earthquake felt like it lasted for roughly three minutes.

"First there was noise, and then the trees started to shake," Alguet was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

"Then, the ground started to move slowly."

About 16,990 people live within 100km of where the quake struck, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination Centre.

It estimated the maximum tsunami wave height would be 0.4m in Tolab, Vanuatu.

More to come

- NZ Herald

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