Two large earthquakes struck the South Shetland Islands near Antarctica early this morning, however a tsunami was not expected.

The first, a magnitude 6.6, struck at 2.40am New Zealand time at a depth of 10km, the United States Geological Survey said.

The second jolt, a magnitude 6.2, struck at 3.21am NZT, at a depth of 14.8km.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a damaging tsunami was not expected.

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The South Shetland Islands are located south of South America, around 1,200km from Chile.

- Herald Online staff