Magnitude 7.1 quake hits off Vanuatu, tsunami warning lifted

Magnitude 7.1 quake hits off Vanuatu, tsunami warning lifted
Magnitude 7.1 quake hits off Vanuatu, tsunami warning lifted

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck today off the coast of the Pacific island nation Vanuatu, but a tsunami threat passed and there were no immediate reports of damage. — Reuters pic

SYDNEY, Dec 7 — A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck today off the coast of the Pacific island nation Vanuatu, but a tsunami threat passed and there were no immediate reports of damage.

The offshore quake hit at 1256 GMT at a depth of 48 kilometres, around 120 kilometres south of the town of Isangel and 340 kilometres from the capital Port Vila, the United States Geological Survey said.

“There is no longer a tsunami warning from this earthquake,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said after revising its initial assessment.

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Vanuatu’s Meteorology and Geohazards Department had warned residents in the southernmost Tafea province to take “precautionary measures” such as moving from the coast to higher ground.

USGS initially reported a magnitude of 7.3 and a depth of 35 kilometres, but soon revised its report.

Earthquakes are common in Vanuatu, a low-lying archipelago of 320,000 people that straddles the seismic Ring of Fire, an arc of intense tectonic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

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A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck northern Vanuatu in November, with authorities warning that “small tsunami waves” had been picked up by ocean monitoring equipment.

Vanuatu is ranked as one of the countries most susceptible to natural disasters such as earthquakes, storm damage, flooding and tsunamis, according to the annual World Risk Report. — AFP

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