Pacific Earthquake Triggered Tsunami Fears

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 1:33 PM

Initial warnings of "hazardous waves" to island coasts around the epicentre of the tremor are later downgraded.

Pacific Earthquake Triggered Tsunami Fears

A tsunami warning was issued for a 186-mile area of the Pacific Ocean following a 6.9 size earthquake off Vanuatu.

The quake struck ninety-four miles northwest of the island nation at a depth of 35km (twenty-two miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Earlier, it was given a size of 7.2

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially warned of "hazardous tsunami waves" for coasts within 300km of the earthquake's epicentre.

However, a brief time later this was downgraded and it said: "The tsunami threat from this earthquake has presently mostly passed."

There were number immediate reports of damage from the quake, which comes just over a year after , killing up to fifty people.

Jonathan Bathgate, senior seismologist at Geoscience Australia, said that while residents of the Vanuatu town of Harbour Olry were likely to have felt "very intense shaking", there was only a "relatively low" likelihood of serious damage.

He told AFP: "I haven't had proof of anything (tsunami) impacting the northern coast of that (Espiritu Santo) island at this stage, so that'south probably a good sign."

He added that Harbour Vila residents would've "felt a shake but it probably wouldn't be damaging at that distance".

"Earthquakes such as this occur quite frequently in the area, so Vanuatu experiences these earthquakes of similar magnitudes probably fairly regularly."

Vanuatu sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.

It's also prone to volcanoes and cyclones, and has been ranked by the United Nations Univ as the most at-risk nation for natural disasters.

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