7.2 quake hits South Pacific nation of Vanuatu
17 mins ago
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 rattled the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early Friday, triggering a tsunami watch for the area, officials said. There were no immediate reports of damage.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a tsunami warning for Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. It said the quake had the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that could strike coastlines in the region within minutes to hours.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at just after 4 a.m. local time and was centered 300 miles (485 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Port Vila, at a depth of 22 miles (36 kilometers).
Authorities in Vanuatu said they were checking for information on both the quake and the regional tsunami alert.
"We have no information yet and no sign of any tsunami, and no alert has been received here yet," police spokesman Smith Wuwue said from Port Vila on the island of Efate.