Sunday, August 21, 2011

Earthquake in Vanuatu

A series of earthquakes struck off the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Sunday, causing minor damage, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. Local tsunami advisories were issued but later lifted, and no tsunami was recorded.
The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude-7.1 quake struck at 3:55 a.m. (1655 GMT Saturday) at a depth of 25.2 miles (40.6 kilometers). Its epicenter was 39 miles (63 kilometers) south-southwest of Vanuatu's capital, Port-Vila.
The temblor was followed by several aftershocks, including a magnitude-7.0 quake that struck at 5:19 a.m. (1819 GMT) at a depth of 17.7 miles (28.5 kilometers). Its epicenter was 42 miles (69 kilometers) south-southwest of Port-Vila.
The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory said it issued four local tsunami advisories that were lifted after about two hours. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning.
Some minor damage was reported in the southern part of the country and in the surrounding areas of Port-Vila, said Esrom Molisa, an official with Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office.
Vanuatu, a chain of 83 islands, lies just over 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) northeast of Sydney. It is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from South America through Alaska and down through the South Pacific.
A magnitude-7.3 quake struck near Vanuatu on Dec. 26, causing a tsunami a few inches high but no damage.

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