New Zealand and Australia have issued tsunami warnings after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook the region of Pacific on Wednesday, but France has not yet arrived as the quake was felt “very low” in the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter was about 400 kilometers southeast of the Loyalty Islands and about 430 kilometers from Vanuatu.
The quake immediately triggered a tsunami alert from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
“Dangerous waves caused by this earthquake are possible in the next three hours,” he warned.
Soon, authorities in Australia and New Zealand followed suit.
The Australian Meteorological Agency has warned of the dangers of Lord Howe Island, about 550 kilometers from Australia.
For its part, the New Zealand Emergency Management Agency has also issued a warning to people on the north coast of the North Island.
“We expect New Zealand’s coastal areas to be exposed to unusually strong currents and unpredictable rising waters,” he said.
“Those at sea or on the beach should move away from beaches, beaches, harbors and gardens and return home,” he added.
French authorities, on the other hand, did not issue a warning at this time. “The expected wave may not exceed 30 centimeters,” a source in the Foreign Ministry told AFP.
“But we are carefully monitoring the progress of the situation if this is to change,” he added.
According to the source, the quake was “rarely felt in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. No material damage has been reported so far.”
USGS initially announced a level of 7.9, which was later revised to 7.5 and then to 7.7.
New Caledonia is located 1,500 km east of Australia, southwest of the Pacific Ocean.
The area, which includes New Caledonia and neighboring Vanuatu, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most intense seismic activity on the planet.
The Australian plate that holds the islands of New Caledonia and Loyalty sinks under the Vanuatu Arc to form an aerial moat.
In September 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami through the Indonesian island of Celeb.
The disaster left more than 4,300 dead and at least 170,000 displaced.
Another devastating 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people in the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.