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Powerful undersea quake hits north of New Zealand, prompting possible tsunami threat

Posted at 7:02 AM, Feb 10, 2021

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A powerful undersea earthquake has struck north of New Zealand, prompting tsunami warnings for several island nations.

The U.S. Geological Agency says the magnitude 7.7 quake hit Wednesday evening and was centered at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

The shaking was not expected to cause significant damage or fatalities on land.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings of possible tsunami waves ranging from 0.3 to 1 meters (1 to 3.3 feet) for Vanuatu and Fiji.

A tsunami watch was issued and then canceled for American Samoa.

The region is prone to earthquakes because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the ocean.