December 25, 2010 / 1:53 PM / 9 years ago

Quake causes small tsunami in south Pacific

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An undersea earthquake on Saturday caused a minor tsunami in the South Pacific but islanders said there were no reports of large-scale fluctuations in sea level or of damage or injuries.

Earlier, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a tsunami warning for Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji after the 7.6 magnitude quake.

“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami ... Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to this possibility,” it said.

The center later canceled the warning after reporting a small tsunami had occurred.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter,” it said.

Residents in Vanuatu and New Caledonia said they felt the quake but there were no large waves.

“There has been an earthquake,” said a French government official in Noumea, New Caledonia, adding there had been no local reports of a tsunami.

Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Andrew Dobbie

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