Tsunami warnings were lifted after a major 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck beneath the Pacific Ocean southeast of New Caledonia on Friday.
The tremors were detected at a depth of 37 kilometers (23 miles), the United States Geological Survey said on Friday, and the countries across the Pacific issued alerts for the threat of tsunamis.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center mentioned that waves of less than half a meter (1.5 feet) were measured off Lenakel, a port town in the island country of Vanuatu. Elsewhere, smaller waves were measured off Vanuatu and off New Caledonia.
Earlier, Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office had advised people to evacuate from coastal areas to higher ground, as per an information bulletin alert.
Meanwhile, New Caledonia also lifted its alert later in the day after police had evacuated the coast and tsunami sirens were activated.
According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology there was no tsunami threat to mainland Australia but Lord Howe Island, located 780 kilometers (421 nautical miles) northeast of Sydney in the Tasman Sea, was under a threat warning.
Moreover, New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said that strong and unusual currents and coastal surges could be expected along the coastal areas, though there was no need to evacuate as inundation was not expected.
Meanwhile, a national advisory remained for New Zealand on Friday evening warning people in or near the sea to “move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas and away from harbors, marinas, rivers or estuaries”.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also said that small waves were possible for Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Guam and other Pacific islands.
The area is a part of the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean which is one of the most earthquake-prone regions of the earth.
(With inputs from Al Jazeera)