Earth­quake rocks south Pa­cific

Mag­ni­tude mea­sured at 7.5

The Progress-Index - - OBITUARIES -

WELLING­TON, New Zealand — A pow­er­ful earth­quake that struck in the south­ern Pa­cific Ocean on Wed­nes­day sent jit­ters around the re­gion af­ter au­thor­i­ties warned of pos­si­ble tsunamis, but there were no ini­tial re­ports of de­struc­tive waves or ma­jor dam­age.

The mag­ni­tude 7.5 quake hit in the af­ter­noon near the French ter­ri­tory of New Cale­do­nia at a shal­low depth, where earthquakes are gen­er­ally more dam­ag­ing. It was felt as far away as Van­u­atu, about 390 miles away.

Tsunami sirens blared across New Cale­do­nia min­utes af­ter the quake. The Pa­cific Tsunami Warn­ing Cen­ter said tsunami waves of be­tween 3 and 10 feet were pos­si­ble along some coasts of New Cale­do­nia and Van­u­atu, be­fore later lift­ing the warn­ing.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in New Cale­do­nia or­dered res­i­dents to evac­u­ate coastal zones on the east­ern edge of the ar­chi­pel­ago, in­clud­ing the Loy­alty Is­lands and the is­land of Ile des Pins. The evac­u­a­tion or­der from the re­gional po­lice said western is­lands didn’t need to evac­u­ate but should re­main vig­i­lant.

While res­i­dents of the re­gion are fa­mil­iar with tsunami warn­ings and evac­u­a­tions, the quake star­tled tourists, in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant Eu­ge­nie Ker­leau, 30, va­ca­tion­ing on the is­land of Li­fou from her home in main­land France.

“It was re­ally sur­pris­ing, I had a feel­ing of ver­tigo, the cur­tains were mov­ing. We were im­me­di­ately evac­u­ated from the ho­tel to a calmer point at higher alti­tude,” she told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

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