19 May 2023

Tsunami warning for 7.7 magnitude earthquake cancelled

7:51 pm on 19 May 2023

The 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Southeast of Loyalty Islands. Photo: earthquake.usgs.gov

A tsunami warning following a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific has been lifted.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre cancelled the warning four hours after it issued an alert for Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

"Based on all available data...the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed, the center said.

"Minor sea level fluctuations of up to 0.3 meters above and below the normal tide may continue over the next few hours."

The warning was prompted by the quake struck Southeast of Loyalty Islands at a depth of 38km.

Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazard Department said there have been reports of tsunami waves being observed along the coastal areas of Southern Vanuatu in the last four hours.

"Based on the data available, at 3pm (Vanuatu time) there are waves of about 0.7 meters recorded at the Lenakel tide gauge," the department said.

"The tsunami threat has now passed. This is the final advisory on this Tsunami event unless the situation changes."

Earlier on Friday, people living in coastal areas Vanuatu and New Caledonia to "immediately evacuate" to higher grounds for safety.

While in Fiji, authorities advised coastal communities to take precautionary action.