© US Geological Survey
The Vanuatu archipelago is just over 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia
The US Geological Survey said it struck in the centre of Erromago

An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale has struck off the Vanuatu archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.

The US Geological Survey said it struck in the centre of Erromago, the fourth largest island, which has a population of just under 2,000 people.

However, its depth of 124.4 miles would have dampened its effect, it said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake did not pose a tsunami threat

Situated to the east of Australia, the island chain is in the so called "Ring of Fire", which is prone to earthquakes.

It was the fourth major earthquake to strike around the world in the last 24 hours - following one in Mexico that measured a magnitude of 7.1, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand and another one with a magnitude of 6.1 striking off the coast of Japan - around 200 miles east of Fukushima.

A tsunami sparked by an earthquake in the Pacific hit the nuclear plant in Fukushima in 2011 causing a major disaster - with the water disabling the emergency generators required to cool the reactors at the plant after they had automatically shut down.