7.1 earthquake hits east of New Caledonia just a day after 7.7 jolt

Epicentre was 35km deep and located about 300km east of the New Caledonian archipelago, says USGS

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A picture showing a Richter scale reading — Reuters/File
A picture showing a Richter scale reading — Reuters/File

Just a day after a powerful earthquake of 7.7 magnitude, southeast of the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia suffered another jolt Saturday which was measured at 7.1 on a Richter scale, said US Geological Survey.

It also noted that the epicentre was 35 kilometres (22 miles) deep and located about 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of the New Caledonian archipelago.

"It lasted maybe two seconds, not too big," said Nancy Jack, manager of the beachfront Friendly Beach Bungalows on the Vanuatu island of Kana, adding that “no large waves could be seen.”

Just minutes after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, a 6.5-magnitude aftershock hit the same, which struck at 12:51 pm (0151 GMT).

In an update, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that any tsunami waves are expected to be less than 0.3 metres (one foot) high.

The centre also said the waves may reach the Pacific islands of Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna after earlier issuing a warning for coasts within 300 kilometres of the epicentre.

Following the quake, Australia's meteorology bureau said there was no tsunami threat to mainland Australia, islands and territories.

Earlier Friday, officials said Friday that a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean southeast of New Caledonia that triggered a tsunami warning for the states in the region; however, the alert was lifted three hours after the seism.

The US Geological Survey then said the earthquake was 37km deep.

US National Tsunami Warning Center said that the earthquake's epicentre was near the Loyalty Islands of the French Territory of New Caledonia, to the west of Fiji and Vanuatu, adding that "based on all available data the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) had earlier warned people of a "devastating tsunami was possible based on the preliminary earthquake parameters for coasts within 1,000km (620 miles) of the earthquake epicentre."