Vanatu earthquake 2016
© USGSThe quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, was 10km deep. It was later revised to magnitude 7.
A large earthquake has hit near Vanuatu, but initial fears that it could generate large tsunami waves appear to have passed.

The quake was 10km deep and hit shortly after 7.30am, NZ time. It had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, but that had since been revised to 7.0.

There was no threat to New Zealand, the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially said waves of between 1m and 3m above the tide level were possible along some coasts of Vanuatu.

Any waves were forecast to be under 30cm for New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
earthquake vanatu 2016
© USGSA map from USGS shows the locations of 2016's five quakes measuring magnitude 7 or more. Friday's quake in Vanuatu is shown in blue.
By 9.30am NZ time the Center had updated its information to say the tsunami threat had mostly passed.

The quake was centred about 95km southeast of the town of Santo, USGS said. A spokesman at Vanuatu's Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila said the quake did not feel major. "It was just a small one," he said.

The quake had not disrupted flights and the spokesman said he was not aware of any damage.

Friday's quake was the fifth this year measuring magnitude 7 or more. The biggest quakes were in Ecuador, on April 16, and Sumatra a month earlier. Both measured magnitude 7.8. More than 650 people died in the Ecuador quake.