New Zealand authorities have issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas after a strong earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck the Kermadec Islands region on Thursday morning.
The quake, which occurred at 5:19 am local time (1619 GMT Wednesday), was centered about 800 km northeast of New Zealand’s North Island, at a depth of 10 km, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said that hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 300 km of the epicenter. It advised people in the affected areas to move away from the coast and seek higher ground.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also warned of potential coastal inundation and strong currents. It said that people should not go sightseeing or enter the water.
The quake was felt across parts of New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The Kermadec Islands are a remote archipelago that are part of New Zealand’s territory. They are uninhabited except for a small number of conservation workers and scientists.
The region is prone to frequent seismic activity due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanoes and fault lines that encircles much of the Pacific Ocean.
Thursday’s earthquake comes less than two weeks after another powerful tremor of 6.9 magnitude hit the same area on March 4, but did not cause any damage or tsunami threat.
It also follows a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey on February 28, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring thousands more. The earthquake had a similar intensity of 7.1 magnitude and triggered widespread destruction in several provinces.