Quake Triggers Tsunami Scare; Warning Issued, Cancelled in Oz, NL

Following a minor earthquake in the south of New Zealand that caused damages but no injuries, both New Zealand and Australia have temporarily issued tsunami warnings.

According to Australia’s weather bureau, a small tsunami was recorded in New Zealand and another detected in the Tasman Sea heading toward Australia’s southeast coast.

“Our deep ocean buoy in the southern Tasman Sea indicates a wave traveling across the Tasman. Because of the depth of the water we can not tell the wave height,” Chris Ryan, from Australia’s Tsunami Warning Center, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

In the meantime, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology issued a statement urging people to get out of water and move to higher ground from low lying coastal areas.

After an hour, the country withdrew its tsunami warning, belittling the threat to a “small boat alert.”

Likewise, New Zealand issue a tsunami warning too, and cancelled it later. The warning was issued following a shallow quake in New Zealand’s remote south.

The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the tremor, measuring 6.6 magnitude, struck at 9.22 p.m. (0922 GMT). The government institute said that it was centered in the remote and unpopulated Fiordland region, about 150 km (95 miles) north west of the country’s most southern city, Invercargill. It was measured at around five km (three miles) below ground level.

However, local civil defense officials had issued a warning about a “potential tsunami” for the region, because of conflicting reports about the quake’s size. The Japanese meteorological agency put the preliminary magnitude at 7.8.

“There was a small wave, but it was not damage causing … people probably wouldn’t have noticed it among the other waves,” Civil Defense spokesman Vince Cholewa was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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