The tsunami threat passed within hours, although officials said small changes in sea level could continue.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A 7.7-magnitude earthquake on Friday triggered a small tsunami that washed ashore on a South Pacific island. There were no reports of damage, and the threat disappeared after a few hours.
Waves of 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) above high tide were measured off Lenakel, a port city in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Smaller waves were measured by coastal or deep-sea sensors elsewhere off Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office has advised people to evacuate coastal areas to higher ground ahead of a possible tsunami after the earthquake. The office said people should listen to their radios for news updates and take other precautions.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said it expected coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents with unpredictable shoreline surges. The PTWC reported that small waves of 20 centimeters (8 inches) above high tide were measured at North Cape, New Zealand.
The tsunami threat passed within hours, although the center said small changes in sea level could continue.
The US Geological Survey said the epicenter of the earthquake was near the Loyalty Islands, a province in the French territory of New Caledonia. The earthquake was at a depth of 37 kilometers (23 miles).
The area is located southwest of Fiji, north of New Zealand and east of Australia, where the Coral Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
The region is part of the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.