Tsunami Warning Issued for New Zealand After Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Hits South Pacific

  • Updated

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake was reported in the South Pacific on Friday, triggering a tsunami warning for areas including parts of New Zealand.

According to the US National Tsunami Warning Center, tsunami waves could hit a swathe of coastal areas of Vanuatu, Fiji, Kiribati and the northern tip of New Zealand.

Mega-tsunami warning Pixabay

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake occurred at a depth of 38 kilometers. The epicenter of the earthquake lay between Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, the US National Tsunami Warning Center said. It alerted that a tsunami is possible in coasts located within 1,000 kilometers of the epicenter.

Major earthquake of 7.2 magnitude strikes off Vanuatu, tsunami alert issued
An aerial view of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu Reuters

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency said it was examining if the earthquake poses a tsunami threat to the country.

The USGS said the earthquake hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific.

The Loyalty Islands region is very active seismically, the report adds. The region within 250 km of the earthquake had seen 13 other earthquakes of magnitude 7 or higher in the preceding 50 years, the report adds.

The largest prior events include the magnitude 7.7 tremor in February 2021, and another one of the same magnitude in 1995. "Because of their remote locations, earthquakes in this region are less likely to create strong shaking in populated areas," the report adds.