Strong Quake Jolts NZ Islands

A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake jolted New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands region in the South Pacific early on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said.

The USGS said the quake was centred 180 kilometres east of Raoul Island at a depth of about 24 miles.

The islands lie about 1,200 kilometres north of the North Island.

There are no reports of damages so far and the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami warning in effect for coastal areas.

But it warned that some areas in the region may experience small non-destructive sea level changes lasting up to several hours.

New Zealand, currently hosting the Rugby World Cup, lies on the Pacific “ring of fire”, a zone of frequent seismic activity, and is prone to earthquakes.

The second largest city, Christchurch, was devastated by a 6.3-magnitude quake in February which killed 181 people, after many of its buildings were weakened by a previous earthquake in September 2010.

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