Vanatu: 7.5 Quake, small tsunami

CANBERRA (Reuters) – A magnitude 7.5 earthquake rattled the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Tuesday, causing a small tsunami but no reports of serious damage.

Police in Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila said people were urged to move to higher ground as a precaution after the quake struck around 46 km (29 miles) northwest of Port Vila at 1:24 a.m. ET

The government in the nearby French territory of New Caledonia also advised citizens to be vigilant.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. A recorded wave amplitude of 23 cm (9 inches) has been observed at Port Vila,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an email alert, adding there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami.

Police in Vanuatu said the tsunami alert was lifted after about two hours, with no reports of serious damage.

Both Vanuatu and New Caledonia lie close to the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” which is a center for seismic activity due to constant friction between geologic plates.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor and James Grubel, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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