Massive quake off New Caledonia sparks tsunami warning

The US Geological Survey originally gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.6 before revising it downwards slightly

The US Geological Survey originally gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.6 before revising it downwards slightly

An evacuation order has been issued in New Caledonia after tsunami waves were spotted following a 7.6 magnitude quake. New Zealand authorities issued a similar warning after the quake, which struck just 10 kilometres beneath the surface.

"Hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts", the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said, after earlier warning that the danger zone included "coasts located within 1000 kilometres of the quake epicentre".

"There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the 7.6 magnitude quake southeast of Loyalty Islands", it stated.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says hazardous tsunami waves are possible for some Pacific coastlines.

But people in New Caledonia and nearby Vanuatu said they did not feel the quake, and tsunami warning sirens were not immediately activated in Vanuatu.

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There were no immediate reports of damage from the natural disaster, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that waves had been "observed" and could reach up to three meters high.

A spokesman for French mining and metals group Eramet, which operates the Doniambo nickel plant in the main harbor of Noumea, said it had enacted its tsunami alert process.

It said the waves could be as high as 3m above sea level in New Caledonia and Vanuatu, and up to 1m above the tide level in Fiji.

A short time before WeatherWatch.co.nz said the region wasn't known for generating serious tsunami for New Zealand but everyone should keep up to date with more information as it comes in this evening.

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