Powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake hits off Vanuatu, tsunami alert issued

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck off Vanuatu on Sunday, with "hazardous" tsunami waves possible along the coasts of the Pacific archipelago, seismologists said.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The quake hit at a depth of 35 kilometres (22 miles), some 81 kilometres north-northwest of the town of Port Olry on Espiritu Santo island in Vanuatu and 407 kilometres from the capital Port Vila, the United States Geological Survey said.

"There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage," the USGS added.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said "hazardous tsunami waves" from the earthquake were possible within 300 kilometres of the epicentre, along the coasts of Vanuatu.

Australian government agency Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Jonathan Bathgate said that while Port Olry residents were likely to have felt "very intense shaking", "the likelihood is relatively low in terms of serious damage".

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

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

Vanuatu is part of the "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Updated Date: Apr 03, 2016 15:31 PM

Also Watch

IPL 2018: Royal Challengers Bangalore eye revival against Chennai Super Kings as 'Cauvery Derby' comes back to life
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 In the Kanjarbhat community, a campaign against 'virginity tests' is slowly gaining ground
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 It's A Wrap: Beyond the Clouds stars Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, April 9, 2018 48 hours with Huawei P20 Pro: Triple camera offering is set to redefine smartphone imaging
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore interview: Sports can't be anyone's fiefdom, we need an ecosystem to nurture raw talent