6.7-magnitude quake hits South Pacific island - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/8/06

6.7-magnitude quake hits South Pacific island

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck in the South Pacific near the island nation of Vanuatu Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a major, Pacific-wide tsunami associated with the quake, although it could generate local tsunamis along coasts located within about 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the epicenter.

The epicenter of the quake was 80 kilometers (50 miles) east-southeast of Luganville, or about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north-northwest of the country's capital, Port Vila.

The earthquake occurred at 9:18 a.m. local time (10:18 p.m. Monday GMT).

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center at Ewa Beach, Hawaii, said the earthquake was too deep to pose any local or Pacific-wide tsunami risk, The Associated Press reports.

"Although it was a sizable earthquake ... the epicenter was 150 kilometers (93 miles) deep, which is too deep to deform the sea floor," Fryer said. "We've actually checked the tidal gauge at Port Vila and there's no risk of a tsunami at all."

Job Esau, the director of Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office, said Port Vila was unaffected by the quake but that he was still awaiting news from the country's outlying islands.

"We haven't got any information on the impact of the earthquake yet," he told The Associated Press by telephone from the capital. "We do expect some form of impact, whether it be a landslide or infrastructure damage so we're just waiting to hear."

Vanuatu, a nation of about 200,000 people, is about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast of Australia.

It is located in the Pacific's "Ring of Fire" region where earthquakes and volcanic activity are relatively prevalent.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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