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Strong quake hits island chain off New Zealand; no tsunami

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck an arc of islands off New Zealand on Sunday, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it may cause only minor sea level changes in some coastal areas.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake hit a spot about 873 kilometers (541 miles) northeast of Ngunguru, New Zealand, a town of about 1,400 people.

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It occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

The area the quake struck is called the Kermadec Islands, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island.

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New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management cleared New Zealand of a tsunami threat moments after issuing a beach warning.

The Kermadec Islands, a volcanic archipelago, are prone to earthquakes.

The islands are a dependency of New Zealand and lie at the western edge of the Kermadec Trench.

There are no permanent settlements on the islands. /gsg

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