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7.1 earthquake occurs between Fiji's main islands

SOPHIE FOSTER
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Update: 12:30AM A MAGNITUDE 7.1 earthquake occurred in the Fiji region at 10.45pm last night (Monday), but the quake was so deep that residents of the islands slept through it. No tsunami alert or other security action was taken in the islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued two Tsunami Bulletins, advising that "based on the depth of the eathquake" a tsunami was not generated.

It said an earthquake occurred at 10.45pm November 9, at 17.2 South 178.6 East at a depth of 565 kilometers.

That location is virtually in the centre of waters between Fiji's two most populated islands - Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The closest towns to the quake zone were Tavua and Rakiraki. Fiji's capital city Suva was 100 km or 65 miles South of the event, while the northern town of Labasa was 135 km or 85 miles from the quake location.

It is unclear as yet whether any of the populations closest to the quake zone - on the northern end of Fiji's main island Viti Levu or on the southern end of Vanua Levu - felt any tremors.

In its second bulletin, the centre advised that the quake in the Fiji Islands region was a magnitude 7.1. This was an upward revision from the 6.8 magnitude the centre advised of in its first bulletin 14 minutes earlier.

"A destructive tsunami was not generated based on depth of earthquake," it said.

The centre said no further bulletin would be issued for the event, adding that the bulletins were issued as advice to government agencies.

"Only national and local government agencies have the authority to make decision regarding the official state of alert in their area and any actions to be taken in response," it said.

As part of procedure, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also issued a statement at 1.09am this morning to the civil defense in the US state of Hawaii for information only, stressing that no action was required.

"Based on all available data a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat," it said. 


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