Powerful Quake In South Pacific Triggers Tsunami Warning - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Powerful Quake In South Pacific Triggers Tsunami Warning

MSNBC.COM - A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck near the Kermadec Islands in the South Pacific Ocean on Thursday, triggering a tsunami alert for New Zealand and Tonga, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake struck at 7:03 a.m. Its epicenter was 131 miles east of Raoul Island, part of the Kermadec archipelago, and was only 30 miles deep, the USGS said.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist Victor Sardina told Radio New Zealand that a tsunami had been generated, the New Zealand Herald reported. The newspaper said a buoy off Raoul Island, 130 miles from the epicenter, registered a two-foot-high tsunami, but Sardina said the wave height would increase in shallower waters.

New Zealand media said there was a tsunami warning for the northeast coastline of the country.

The Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management said that any tsunami would hit New Zealand's East Cape at 8:52 a.m. local time Thursday (4:52 p.m. ET Wednesday), TVNZ reported.

The Kermadec Islands are a remote outpost that are generally uninhabited aside from a weather station and a hostel for visiting New Zealand scientists.

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