Major Quake, Santa Cruz Islands

A magnitude 7 undersea earthquake struck near the Santa Cruz Islands this afternoon.

Saturday, 18th July 2015

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck undersea near the Santa Cruz Islands at 2:28 this afternoon, New Zealand time. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the quake was centred 78 km west-north-west of Lata, 583 km east-south-east of Honiara, Solomon Islands at a depth of 10 km. The epicentre was 603 km north-north-west of Luganville, Vanuatu.

In its initial bulletin for the event, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reported the quake as magnitude 7.5 at a depth of 33 km. The centre’s initial assessment was that hazardous waves from the quake were possible within 300 km of the epicentre.

The PTWC’s second bulletin, issued at 3 o’clock New Zealand time revised the quake downward to magnitude 6.9 and advised that the tsunami threat from the event had mostly passed.

Geoscience Australia reports the earthquake as magnitude 7.3 at a depth of 4 km. It estimated that the quake would have caused damage up to 130 km from the epicentre, an area including Nendo Island (where the town of Lata is located) and most of the Reef Islands. Its assessment is that the quake would have been felt up to 1600 km from the epicentre.

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