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SYDNEY—A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia late Saturday but there was no tsunami alert, seismologists said.
The quake struck 260 kilometers (161 miles) east-southeast of the town of Tadine on the island of Mare at 11:19 pm local time (1219 GMT) at a relatively shallow depth of 15 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.
USGS initially measured it at 6.9 but later revised it down to 6.6.
Geoscience Australia gave it an initial magnitude of 6.7 at a depth of 46 kilometers and estimated that it was unlikely to have caused damage.
There was no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami from the tremor, which hit about 400 kilometers east of the New Caledonian capital Noumea, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
“However earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter,” it said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the sparsely populated and remote Loyalty Islands.
New Caledonia lies on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a zone of frequent seismic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.