New Zealand on alert after quakeSubmitted by cooper11 on Wed, 07/06/2011 - 16:58
A tsunami warning has been issued for New Zealand, the Kermadec Islands and Tonga following a strong undersea quake with the magnitude of 7.7.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake hit at 07.03 a.m. Thursday (1903 GMT Wednesday), AFP reported.
The quake occurred at the depth of one kilometer (0.6 miles), 160 kilometres (99 miles) east of Raoul Island, one of New Zealand's Kermadec Islands, the USGS said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves with the height of up to 0.84 meters (2.7 feet) above sea levels have started moving across the Pacific towards New Zealand and Tonga.
"Sea level readings confirm that a tsunami was generated. This tsunami may have been destructive along coastlines of the region near the earthquake epicenter," the center said.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours."
The center added the tsunami threat will be gone if no damaging waves are seen two hours after the initial warning.