Tsunami warnings issued after major earthquake off Vanuatu

May 28th, 2010 - 12:46 am ICT by BNO News  

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — A major earthquake struck off the Vanuatu Islands on early Friday, seismologists said, prompting tsunami warnings for nearby coasts.

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake at 4.14 a.m. local time (1714 UTC Thursday) was centered about 214 kilometers (133 miles) north-northwest of Santo, Vanuatu. It struck about 36.1 kilometers (22.4 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which initially measured the strength of the earthquake at 7.6, immediately issued a tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, the Vanuatu Islands, and New Caledonia.

“It is not known that a tsunami was generated,” the center said in its warning. “This warning is based only on the earthquake evaluation. An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours.”

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