A tsunami alert has been issued after a massive earthquake struck off the east coast of Australia.
The 7.0 magnitude quake hit near New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands on Monday at 9.43am, local time.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said ‘hazardous tsunami waves’ were possible within 300km of the epicenter.
The agency later reported that ‘tsunami waves had been observed’ and issued the alert for New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Waves as high as one meter above the high-tide mark were forecast to hit New Caledonia, with smaller waves expected in Vanuatu.
The PTWC later said the danger had largely passed.
The quake was centred 68km north-east of Tadine at a depth of 10km and was followed by another measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale just minutes later.
‘Government agencies responsible for threatened coastal areas should take action to inform and instruct any coastal populations populations at risk,’ the PTWC said.