Tsunami warnings issued following powerful quake near Vanuatu

December 25th, 2010 - 8:36 pm ICT by BNO News  

VANUATU ISLANDS (BNO NEWS) — Tsunami warnings were issued for several countries on early Sunday morning after a powerful earthquake struck near the Vanuatu Islands, seismologists and tsunami experts said.

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake at 12.16 a.m. local time (1316 GMT Sunday) was centered approximately 138 kilometers (86 miles) west of Isangel on Vanuatu. It struck about 24.4 kilometers (15.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center immediately issued a tsunami warning for Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Fiji, although it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been generated.

“It is not known that a tsunami was generated,” the agency 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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