According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Vanuatu was struck by an earthquake at magnitude -6.9 early this morning. The incident set the alarms of a potential tsunami but then The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center discarded the thread.
At 7:23p.m. local time, about 50 miles north-northwest of the town of Port Olry at a depth of 35 22 miles, the quake hit the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, reported the USGS. First reports give the earthquake a magnitude of -7.2, but later news lowered it to -6.9.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department warned for possible tsunami waves in 186 miles or 300 kilometers of the earthquake’s epicenter. The authorities started the evacuation of coastal areas in the provinces of Torba, Sanma, Penama, and Malampa. By 11 p.m local time, and based on all data the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had, the warnings were lifted.
According to The Vanuatu Meteorological Services, and despite the strength of the earthquake, there haven’t been reported injuries or damage in Vanuatu or the surrounding area.
Vanuatu is still being shaken by earthquakes and aftershocks Monday morning. First, at 12:19 GMT, a second tremor measured magnitude -4.8 occurred 91 kilometers northwest of Port Olry. About four hours later, one more earthquake measured at magnitude-5.0 occurred southwest of Sola.
From 270,000 citizens, including 44,000 in Port Vila, the USG calculates that about 187,000 people felt the effects of the earthquake while about 3000 of them sensed strong tremors.
A very seismically land
Vanuatu is one of the most seismically areas in the world. It is familiar with seismic activity and volcanoes form because it’s placed in the Ring of Fire –a string of volcanoes located along the tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean in what are termed “subduction zones.”–, a volatile area of the South Pacific Ocean.
Vanuatu experienced temblors struck it in October (magnitude -7.3) and December (-6.3) but neither of them caused significant injuries or tsunami waves.