Home Emergency Management News Magnitude-7.0 Earthquake Shakes Pacific Island Nation Vanuatu

Magnitude-7.0 Earthquake Shakes Pacific Island Nation Vanuatu

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Tsunami warning issued but later canceled

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake shook the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early today in the southwest Pacific Ocean, prompting a two-hour tsunami warning.

The earthquake struck in early morning about 0.6 miles, or 1.0 kilometer (km), southeast of the village of Norsup beneath the island of Melampa in the Vanuatu island chain at a depth of approximately 16.9 miles (27.2 km). According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake occurred as a result of thrust faulting at or close to the boundary between the Australia and Pacific tectonic plates.

A tsunami warning was originally issued, warning of "tsunami waves reaching 1 to 3 meters above the tide level are possible along some coasts of Vanuatu." But the tsunami warning was canceled" after about two hours, as the threat had waned.

Vanuatu: No stranger to earthquakes

Vanuatu is no stranger to quakes, as the region frequently experiences large earthquakes. According to the USGS, there have been at least 23 events of magnitude-7.0 or larger within 155 miles (250 km) of where today's quake struck the Pacific island nation. The largest known earthquake within that radius was a magnitude-7.7 quake that occurred in May 1965, approximately 81 miles (130 km) north of today's seismic event.

Additionally, there have reportedly been a sequence of 48 moderate-sized earthquakes ranging from magnitude-4.5 to magnitude-6.9 that have shaken a region approximately 124 miles (200 km) northwest of today's earth quake location.

Today's magnitude-7.0 event was originally reported as a magnitude-7.3 but later revised to 7.0. There have been no reported injuries or significant damage.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.