Major Quake, Vanuatu

A major earthquake struck the New Hebrides region of Vanuatu this evening.

Tuesday August 10th 2010

A magnitude 7.5 undersea earthquake struck 40 km west-north-west of Port Vila, Vanuatu (245 km south-south-east of Luganville, Espiritu Santo) at 5:24 this evening, New Zealand time. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the quake was 35 km deep.

Geoscience Australia reports the quake as magnitude 7.6, and deeper at 60 km. It estimates that the quake would have caused damage within 180 km of the epicentre, which includes the islands of Efate, Malekula Island and Ambrym to the north, and part of Erromango Island to the south. The quake would have been felt up to 2200 km away.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued two bulletins for the event, reporting the quake as magnitude 7.5 at a depth of 21 km. It reports that a tsunami was generated locally, with an initial wave of 23 cm measured at Port Vila. At this stage it is thought that a tsunami threat does not exist for other coastal areas in the Pacific.

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

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