The earthquake has struck off the east coast of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, according to seismologists, prompting a tsunami alert and evacuations on the Pacific Island, UK.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Residents of New Caledonia, a French territory, received text messages directing them to go to refuge centers immediately, with waves of up to three
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But people in New Caledonia and nearby Vanuatu said they did not feel the quake, according to the AFP news agency, while tsunami
"Hazardous tsunami waves are forecasted for some coasts," the warning center said, "the warning zone included earlier." 1
The undersea quake was only 10km deep and about 155km east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia's east coast.
The epicenter was some 300 miles east of Noumea
There were no immediate reports of damage from the quake.
A spokesperson for French mining and metals group Eramet, which runs the Doniambo nickel plant in the main harbor of Noumea, said the company had activated its tsunami alert process.
"The procedure is to ask people who work near the sea to move higher up . "
The spokesperson said he had felt the quake, describing it as" not a long-lasting shake. "
New Caledonia, a cluster of islands home to about 270,000 people, is a unique collectivity of France.  It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean.
The nearby Vanuatu, is an independent state with over 270,000 population. It was previously occupied by France and the United Kingdom.
The US Geological Survey gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.6, before revising it downwards slightly.
Al Jazeera and news agencies