Strong Earthquake, Vanuatu

A strong, very shallow earthquake struck off-shore between Vanuatu and the Loyalty Islands this morning.

The magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which struck at 6:33 a.m. on the 29th of April 2008 New Zealand time, was located 85 km south-west of Isangel on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu at a depth of about 4 km. The undersea quake occurred in an area 175 km north-north-east of Tadine in the Loyalty Islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin at 6:47 reporting the quake as magnitude 6.7 at the greater depth of 81 km. The bulletin stated that a widespread tsunami threat did not exist, but a destructive wave may have been generated locally. Geoscience Australia report the quake at magnitude 6.8 at a depth of 100 km.

Two smaller quakes of magnitude 5.0 and 5.5 struck the area on April the 25th and 24th New Zealand time.

The area experienced a vigorous burst of earthquake activity overnight on the 9th and 10th of April, when 9 earthquakes struck over a period of 5 hours. The quakes included one quake of 7th magnitude and three of 6th magnitude.

Activity then eased, but resumed early in the afternoon, New Zealand time, at a location closer to the Loyalty Islands. A further 7 quakes with magnitudes between 4.9 and 5.9 occurred before activity again subsided on the morning of Saturday April 12th.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies; and the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.]

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