Tsunami Warning Issued After Earthquake Hits Kermadec Islands
The New Zealand government has issued a tsunami warning after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Kermadec Islands
The country's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management put out a beach warning, urging residents to be cautious and to expect a strong and unpredictable current near the shoreline.
According to reports, the initial earthquake hit at around 9am (AEST) close to the Kermadec Islands region, between Auckland and Tonga.
From their preliminary investigations, authorities believe New Zealand may, in fact, avoid a tsunami, but residents are still being advised to take care near the coast.
In a tweet about the incident, the NZ Civil Defence altered their warning, writing: "Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the earthquake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will pose a threat to NZ."
The body later updated its warning, informing residents that there is no longer any threat of a tsunami to New Zealand.
It said: "There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the M7.0 Kermadec Islands region earthquake. Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the earthquake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will pose a threat to NZ."
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The warning has not been extended to Australia.
Issuing a statement regarding the possibility of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii stated the immediate threat exists more urgently for parts of the Pacific located which are closer to where the earthquake actually took place.
It said: "Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometers of the earthquake epicenter."
Apart from a handful of conservation workers on Raoul Island - the largest of all - the Kermadecs are uninhabited.
They are made up by the peaks of volcanoes, some of them active, that rise above sea level and are often shaken by extremely powerful quakes, with four in the past 13 years - including one in 2006 and two in 2011.
The islands are located in what has been called the Pacific Ring of Fire, because of the high level of volcanic activity in the region at the intersection of several tectonic plates.
Residents with any concerns about the warning can stay updated by by checking www.civildefence.govt.nz and Twitter @NZCivilDefence.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)