Major earthquake in coastal area off Vanuatu

09 February 2005

A large earthquake occurred early this morning off the coast of Vanuatu.

The earthquake of magnitude 6.7 on the Richter scale occurred at 01.47am local time (14:47 UT) about 400 kilometres NNW of Port Vila.

"The event occurred approximately 200 kilometres below the surface and the impact at the surface would probably have been negligible. So far there have been no reports of damage", Geoscience Australia Seismologist Dr Cvetan Sinadinovski said.

"Large earthquakes in the Vanuatu region are not uncommon and earthquakes around this size occur about once a year according to Geoscience Australia's earthquake database. The most recent earthquake of a similar size occurred in April 2004", Dr Sinadinovski said.

"Though Vanuatu is located on the same plate as Sumatra this earthquake is not connected with the huge earthquake which occurred on 26 December 2004."

"A warning was issued by the Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii but no tsunami was recorded on the tidal gauges in the region", Dr Sinadinovski said.

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