Second powerful quake strikes off New Caledonia

Leroy Wright
December 5, 2018

THERE is no tsunami threat to Australia following today's earlier magnitude 7.6 natural disaster off the east coast of New Caledonia, but authorities warn "hazardous waves" are possible. An initial tsunami threat has now passed, however.

A magnitude 7 quake struck just before 8pm New Zealand time at a depth of 10km southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Residents of New Caledonia received an urgent text message directing them to go to refuges immediately after the earlier and also shallow 7.5-magnitude natural disaster struck two-and-a-half hours earlier.

The magnitude 7.5 quake hit in the afternoon near the French territory of New Caledonia at a shallow depth, where earthquakes are generally more damaging.

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Oliver Ciry, a spokesman for New Caledonia's directorate for civil protection and risk management said: "The good news is, we have had no injuries or damage".

The quake itself struck just 10 km (6 miles) deep and about 155 km (95 miles) east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

The quake struck off the coast of New Caledonia. File pic Martial Dosdane
The quake struck off the coast of New Caledonia. File pic Martial Dosdane

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

Tsunami warnings are in place for Vanuatu and New Caledonia, after a magnitude-7.5 natural disaster struck in the region this afternoon.

Meanwhile, waves of up to 3ft were possible in Fiji. High ground, say officials, is anything taller than 39 ft above sea level.

"Tsunami waves have been observed".

At least five aftershocks also hit, ranging in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.0.

Residents of New Caledonia, which lies north of New Zealand, received an urgent text message directing them to go to refuges immediately. "For now, nothing serious has happened".

New Caledonia, with a population of 269,000 people, is a French Pacific territory.

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