WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the southern Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia on Wednesday, prompting authorities to warn of a tsunami threat to nearby islands.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of between 1 and 3 meters (3 and 10 feet) were possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) were possible in Fiji. The warning center said there was no threat to Hawaii.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck about 168 kilometers (104 miles) east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). Earthquakes are generally more destructive when the epicenter is near the surface.
At least five aftershocks also hit, ranging in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.0. New Caledonia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occur. ---