New Caledonia earthquake MAP: Tsunami alert after 7.6 quake – Where is New Caledonia?

New Caledonia has been rocked by a massive magnitude 7.6 earthquake on Wednesday, sparking a tsunami alert and evacuations. Authorities have urged residents to move more than 984 feet away from the shore and head to high ground if possible. High ground, say officials, is anything taller than 39 ft above sea level.

Despite the massive quake on Wednesday afternoon local time, New Caledonia officials have reported no injuries.

Oliver Ciry, a spokesman for New Caledonia’s directorate for civil protection and risk management said: “The good news is, we have had no injuries or damage.”

He added that they had spotted abnormal movements of the sea off the east coast before the earthquake.

Neighbouring island Vanuatu also issued evacuation warnings.

Read More: New Caledonia earthquake: Where did HUGE magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit?

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) warned that tsunami waves of 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) were possible along the coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu and could be take a while to form.

The PTWC warned: “A tsunami is a series of waves and the time between waves can be five minutes to one hour.”

Residents were alerted via an urgent text message which ordered “immediate evacuation” to refuge areas and the “application of safety instructions”.

The Directorate for Civil Protection and Risk Management of New Caledonia (DSCGR) warned: “If you don’t have time to prepare your evacuation, get more than 300m away from the coast and/or get to a height of more than 12m.”

Where is New Caledonia?

New Caledonia is a French territory which lies north of New Zealand, in the South Pacific Ocean.

The earthquake itself struck just 10 km (6 miles) deep and about 155 km (95 miles) east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

The epicentre of the quake was around 300 km (186.4 miles) east of the New Caledonia capital Noumea, but it was so strong that experts said small tsunami waves may be seen as far away as Antarctica and Russia.

New Caledonia is comprised of dozens of islands in the South Pacific and is known for its white sandy beaches and rich marine life.

With a population of 280,460, the archipelago includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines and a few remote inlets.

New Caledonian soils contain about 25 percent of the world’s nickel resources, and production of the prime export was interrupted during the earthquake.

Several aftershocks have also rocked the region, which saw New Zealand also issue a tsunami warning.

However, this has since been rescinded and no surrounding areas have declared any damage.