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6.9 quake hits Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand

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The epicenter of the earthquake (Credit: Google)

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has struck the South Pacific Ocean near the Kermadec Islands, far north of New Zealand’s mainland, seismologists say. No tsunami warnings were issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 7:41 p.m. local time on Saturday, was centered about 79 kilometers (49 miles) southwest of Raoul Island, the largest of the Kermadec Islands, or 995 kilometers (618 miles) northeast of Auckland.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9. It struck about 205 kilometers (127 miles) below the seabed, making it a relatively deep earthquake.

No tsunami alerts were issued after the earthquake. “Based on all available data a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a brief statement.

New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands and the surrounding region as a whole are part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur in the region.

In June 2019, a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean near the Kermadec Islands, causing a small tsunami which was observed at Raoul Island.

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