New Caledonians ordered to shelters in tsunami alert after big quake

The magnitude-7.6 quake struck off the Loyalty Islands off the east coast of New Caledonia

But people in New Caledonia and nearby Vanuatu said they did not feel the quake, and tsunami warning sirens were not immediately activated in Vanuatu.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck about 168 kilometers (104 miles) east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

"Tsunami waves reaching 1 to 3 meters above the tide level are possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu", the PTWC said, with waves of up to one meter (three feet) possible for some coasts of Fiji.

The PTWC said hazardous waves below 30cm were possible right across the Pacific, including in Australia, China, Columbia, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, PNG and New Zealand.

People on the east coast have been told to retreat at least 300m from the shore by the New Caledonia civil defence, and try to get to ground of at least 12m in altitude.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the French overseas territory.

More news: Sask. won't follow Alberta with cut to oil production

New Caledonia is part of the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", where many earthquakes occur.

A major quake Tuesday night struck the territory of New Caledonia, sparking tsunami alerts.

Seismologists in Australia said they are monitoring the natural disaster.

Civil Defence and GNS Science assessed whether the 7.6 magnitude quake at 5.18pm has created a tsunami that could affect New Zealand.

The warning urged evacuation for threatened coastal areas, saying "tsunami waves have been observed". "The tsunami warning was what was different this time, though".

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