Massive quake off New Caledonia sparks tsunami warning

Cheryl Sanders
December 5, 2018

"Hazardous tsunami waves from this natural disaster are possible within 1,000km of the epicentre along the coasts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia", the PTWC said.

Last month, voters in New Caledonia elected to remain a territory of France rather than becoming independent.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no immediate risk of tsunami.

No #tsunami threat to Australia from mag. 7.5 #earthquake near southeast of Loyalty Islands.

A tsunami warning has been issued for all of the Pacific island of New Caledonia, after a shallow 7.6-magnitude natural disaster struck off the country's coast, prompting warnings that hazardous tsunami waves up to three metres high could reach New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The undersea quake was only a shallow 10 km (6 miles) deep and about 155 km (95 miles) east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia's east coast.

Tsunami warnings are in place for Vanuatu and New Caledonia, after a magnitude-7.5 natural disaster struck in the region this afternoon.

Two strong quakes struck the territory - the second one being more powerful.

"We activated the alert sirens. along the east coast and all the Loyalty Islands", Eric Backes, director of the islands' civil defence authority, told local radio.

The PTWC said government agencies should inform coastal populations who are at risk, in line with their procedures and told people located in threatened coastal areas to "stay alert for information".

Residents of New Caledonia, which lies north of New Zealand, received an urgent text message directing them to go to refuges immediately.

The PTWC said hazardous waves below 30cm were possible right across the Pacific, including in Australia, China, Columbia, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, PNG and New Zealand.

It lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped band of volcanoes and fault zones stretching from Alaska around the Pacific to Russian Federation.

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