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Powerful 7.7 undersea quake hits north of New Zealand, prompts tsunami warning

A powerful undersea earthquake struck north of New Zealand on Wednesday evening, prompting tsunami warnings in parts of the region.

The US Geological Agency said the magnitude 7.7 quake was centred at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) southeast of the Loyalty Islands. The shaking was not expected to cause significant damage or fatalities on land.

The US Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings of possible tsunami waves ranging from 0.3 to 1 meters (1 to 3.3 feet) for Vanuatu and Fiji. A tsunami watch was issued and then cancelled for American Samoa.

The region is prone to earthquakes because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the ocean.

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