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Major 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Vanuatu: USGS

A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck about 535 kilometres south-east of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Friday, the United States Geological Survey said, triggering a local tsunami warning. There were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning for areas close to the quake, although there was no Pacific-wide threat of a tsunami, the Hawaii-based centre said. The shallow quake was measured at a depth of about 10 kilometres.

The quake initially registered with a magnitude of 7.2 but was later downgraded. The tsunami warning, which had included coastal areas of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, including the Fijian capital, Suva, was later cancelled.

The powerful quake triggered at least one aftershock, with a magnitude of 5.4, the USGS said. The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology sent out an alert confirming there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

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