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Tsunami alerts withdrawn after 7.7-magnitude earthquake in Pacific near New Caledonia

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By Euronews
The epicentre of the earthquake
The epicentre of the earthquake   -   Copyright  Credit: Euronews
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New Zealand and Australia have cancelled tsunami warnings after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday.

The earthquake was recorded near the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia, the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) said.

The epicentre was located around 400 kilometres southeast of the Loyalty Islands archipelago and about 430 kilometres from Vanuatu, USGS added.

The National Emergency Management Agency in New Zealand had issued a national advisory for tsunami activity, but the warning was later cancelled with no immediate reports of damage.

"Based on the most recent modelling and decreasing tsunami amplitudes at North Cape, Great Barrier Island and the East Cape, the tsunami threat has passed for New Zealand," the agency said.

Citizens on the north coast of the North Island were still advised to move away from beaches, harbours, rivers, and estuaries to avoid "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges".

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology had also issued a "marine threat" for several hours for Lord Howe Island, but not for the mainland.

But the authority later confirmed that the tsunami threat has passed, despite three other tremors in the region with magnitudes ranging from 5.7 to 6.1.

The US Tsunami Center has said there is no tsunami danger to the west coast states and Canada.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning System, meanwhile, reported potential waves of between 30 centimetres and one metre off the coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, and Fiji.

The area encompassing New Caledonia is close to the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most seismically active areas on the planet.