A powerful earthquake has struck in the southern Pacific Ocean sending jitters around the region after authorities warned of possible tsunamis, but there were no reports of destructive waves or major damage.
The magnitude 7.5 quake hit near the French territory of New Caledonia at a shallow depth, where earthquakes are generally more damaging. It was felt as far away as Vanuatu, about 630 kilometers (390 miles) away.
While residents of the region are familiar with tsunami warnings and evacuations, the quake startled tourists, and tsunami sirens blared across New Caledonia minutes after the quake. No damage was immediately reported.
Local authorities in New Caledonia at first ordered residents to evacuate coastal zones on the eastern edge of the archipelago, including the Loyalty Islands and the island of Ile des Pins.
Both New Caledonia and Vanuatu sit on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic activity occur.
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