Disasters & Accidents

New Caledonia earthquake triggers South Pacific tsunami warnings

Sydney, Australia, May 19 (EFE).- New Caledonia experienced small tsunami waves of 40-50 centimeters high after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck near its Loyalty Islands on Friday, while other Pacific nations issued warnings.

The French territory’s Civil Security agency subsequently lifted its tsunami warning after the irregular waves, but warnings were still in place for other South Pacific countries, including Vanuatu and New Zealand.

The powerful earthquake struck at around 2 pm local time (03:00 GMT) at a depth of 37.7 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors seismic activity around the world.

“Tsunami waves have been observed,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning System said on its website.

The service had noted that the waves could be 30cm-1 meter high if they reached the Vanuatu coast, and less than 30cm in New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati and New Zealand, among other nations.

New Zealand’s Civil Defense agency issued a nationwide alert for “tsunami activity” following the earthquake.

“We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore,” it said.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology issued a tsunami warning for Lord Howe Island, more than 450 kilometers from the eastern town of Port Macquarie, New South Wales. EFE


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