7.2 quake off New Zealand triggers brief tsunami scare

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A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake has struck some 100 kilometers off L’Esperance rock, north of New Zealand, briefly triggering a tsunami warning for multiple coasts within 300 km radius.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for the coasts of New Zealand, America Samoa, Cook Islands and Figi, noting however that the waves are not expected to reach more than 0.3 meters above the tide level. Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Toga, Vanuatu have been warned as well, in addition to Wallis and Futuna.

The local governments have been advised to separately assess potential threat and inform the public. “Persons located in threatened coastal areas should stay alert” and follow instruction from the local relief agencies, the PTCW warning stressed.

The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management initially issued a tsunami warning as well, but revoked the threat a few minutes later. “Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the earthquake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will pose a threat to NZ,” the agency said on Twitter.

The Kermadec Islands where the earthquake struck are part of the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ regularly rattled by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The uninhabited islands which sit in south Pacific Ocean are located roughly 800 km northeast of New Zealand’s North Island.

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