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7.1 magnitude quake hits Vanuatu

2012-03-09 11:03

Sydney - A 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit in the South Pacific near Vanuatu and New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands on Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at a depth of 36km, 60km northeast of Isangel in Vanuatu and 324km northeast of Tadine in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, according to USGS.

There was no threat of a widespread tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

"However earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a 100km of the earthquake epicentre," it said.

The area lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a zone of frequent seismic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.