New Zealand and Australia declared a tsunami alert after the massive 7.7 earthquake that hit the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, but France has yet to feel the quake “as it felt very weak” in the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia.
The US Geophysical Institute said the quake’s epicenter was located 400 kilometers southeast of the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands and 430 kilometers from Vanuatu.
The earthquake immediately released a tsunami warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
He warned that “dangerous waves caused by this earthquake could occur within the next three hours,” adding that waves 30 centimeters and one meter high could reach some coasts of Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu.
Soon, authorities in Australia and New Zealand followed suit.
“Tsunami confirmed,” the Australian Meteorological Service wrote on Twitter, warning of dangers to Lord Howe Island, 550 km east of Australia.
For its part, the New Zealand Emergency Management Agency has also issued a warning to residents about the northern coasts of the North Island.
“We expect New Zealand’s coastal areas to be exposed to unusually strong currents and unexpectedly high waters,” he said.
“People at sea or on the coast should go back inland, away from beaches, coasts, ports and estuaries,” she added.
On the other hand, the French authorities have not raised any alarm for the time being. “The expected wave may not exceed 30 centimeters,” a foreign ministry source told AFP.
“But we are closely following the development of the situation if that changes,” she added.
She added that according to this source, the earthquake “was not felt by the residents of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. No material damage has been reported at the moment.”
The USGS initially reported a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, then revised it to 7.5 and then 7.7.
New Caledonia is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,500 kilometers east of Australia.
The area that includes New Caledonia and neighboring Vanuatu is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most intense areas of seismic activity on the planet.
The Australian plate carrying New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands sinks under the Vanuatu Arc, forming the Vanuatu Trench.
In September 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that swept through the Indonesian island of Celebes.
This disaster left more than 4,300 people dead or missing, and at least 170,000 displaced.
Another devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, causing tsunami waves that killed 220,000 people in the region, including about 170,000 people in Indonesia.
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