A strong magnitude 7.0 undersea earthquake hit off New Caledonia’s eastern coast of Loyalty Islands and Vanuatu in the South Pacific on Monday that has triggered a warning of brief tsunami and evacuation alert but didn’t cause any significant damage, as local officials reported. The tsunami warning is issued by The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii, within the coastlines of epicenter 300 KMs (i.e. 186 mile).
According to the US Geological Survey, shallow tremor struck approximately 82km of less populated Loyalty Islands’ eastern coast roughly around 09:45 (22:45 GMT). The quake on Monday was initially reported as 7.3 magnitude hit at six miles (10 km) of shallow depth. It was a second major tremble in the same location in just around 12 hours, while third one was in past month.
After an hour of residents warned to evacuate by National Disaster Management Office of Vanuatu when sirens sounded shortly along Loyalty Islands’ coastal areas, they were again guided by civil security agency of New Caledonia to resume their normal activities, but advised to remain awake for aftershocks.
Wayan Rigault, a communications manager from the Hotel Nengone Village on Mare Island – a closest continent to the epicenter, said in a statement that, “We are a little bit scared, we have had an earthquake last night and today it was quite a big one.”
A resident from central Noumea sated that, “I thought I was going to faint, I was very afraid and I rushed out of my building.”