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Major 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes off Vanuatu in South Pacific: USGS

Vanuatu on March 21, 2015 after the island was hit by Cyclone Pam.
Jeremy Piper | AFP | Getty Images
Vanuatu on March 21, 2015 after the island was hit by Cyclone Pam.

A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck about 535 km (330 miles) southeast of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, briefly triggering a local tsunami warning.

There were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for areas close to the quake, although there was no Pacific-wide threat of a tsunami, the Hawaii-based center said. The shallow quake was measured at a depth of about 10 km (6 miles).

The quake initially registered with a magnitude of 7.6 but was later downgraded. The tsunami warning, which had included coastal areas of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, including the Fijian capital, Suva, was later cancelled.

The powerful quake triggered at least one aftershock, with a magnitude of 5.4, the USGS said.

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