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Tsunami warning downgraded after strong Magnitude 8.1 quake near New Zealand

Thursday, March 4th 2021, 8:30 pm - This quake was much more powerful than the tremor that struck near New Zealand's North Island earlier in the day.

Hours after a strong quake struck off the coast of New Zealand's South Island, a more distant, but much more powerful, tremor was detected in the region.

The new quake, rated at Magnitude 8.0 by the U.S. Geological Service, happened around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning local time in the Kermadec Islands, around a thousand kilometres north of New Zealand. It was soon revised upward to Magnitude 8.1.

The new tremor struck at a relately shallow depth of 19.4 km, the USGS said, which typically increases the risk of a tsunami.

nzquake

New Zealand issued a tsunami warning for areas of the North Island facing the quake, and people in those areas were ordered to evacuate. Hours later, the country's National Emergency Management Agency said the warning was downgraded and those who had been ordered to evacuate could return, though should be mindful of the waves. No reports of damage have come in.

"Coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is no longer expected as a result of this event. We are advising people to move out of the water, do not go to the coast to watch the unusual wave activity," the agency said on Twitter.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said a 64-centimetre tsunami was reported at Norfolk Island, to the northwest of New Zealand.

This latest tsunami threat came not long after another powerful quake in the early morning hours.

That tremor, rated Magnitude 7.3, struck much closer to the country, around 174 km northeast of the city of Gisborne. Though a tsunami warning was issued for that quake as well, it was discontinued.

Several fore- and aftershocks have been detected near the Kermadec quake location, including one foreshock registering Magnitude 7.4 and an aftershock of Magnitude 6.5.

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