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Home / World / A strong earthquake hits the South Pacific on the "Ring of Fire" near New Caledonia, causing tsunami warnings

A strong earthquake hits the South Pacific on the "Ring of Fire" near New Caledonia, causing tsunami warnings



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Updated December 5, 2018 2:25 AM EST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand A strong earthquake that shook Wednesday in the South Pacific sent jitters in the area after authorities warned of possible tsunamis There were no first reports of destructive waves or major damage.

The magnitude 7.5 quake hit shallow depths near New Caledonia in the afternoon, where earthquakes are generally more damaging. It was as far away as Vanuatu.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of 3 to 1

0 feet were possible on some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu before the warning was later lifted.

Judith Rostain, a freelance journalist in New Caledonia's capital Noumea, said The city had not been damaged and the tsunami threat seemed to have passed. She said the situation was unclear on the east coast and the scattered outer islands.

In Vanuatu, Dan McGarry said he only heard of three waves that hit the southern island of Aneityum. McGarry, the media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post, said that the waves were only 7 meters behind the normal tidal waves and that everyone on the island was fine.

McGarry said he sensed the quake, where he sits in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, as a slight shake.

"We get many earthquakes every year," he said. "The tsunami warning was different this time, though."

The Alert Center said that there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii. It said that waves of up to 3 feet in Fiji were possible.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck approximately 104 miles east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of six miles. At least five aftershocks also hit the order of 5.6 to 6.6. The 6.6 was also six miles less.

The population in Vanuatu and New Caledonia is similar, with just over 280,000 inhabitants in each archipelago.

Last month voters in New Caledonia voted to become a territory of France becoming independent.

Both New Caledonia and Vanuatu are located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean, where most earthquakes and volcanic activity occur in the world.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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