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7.6 quake hits South Pacific

Quake felt across wide area of New Zealand's North Island.

December 9, 2007

A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Sunday deep in the South Pacific, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The Japan Meteorological Agency measured the quake at 7.9.

Both agencies said no tsunami warning was issued.

"This earthquake is too deep inside the earth to generate a significant tsunami," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The USGS noted that the temblor occurred in a remote area and that no damage or casualties were expected. The quake was felt across a wide area of New Zealand's North Island.

The quake struck at 7:28 p.m. Sunday local time (2:28 a.m. Sunday EST). It was centered about 215 miles north of Raoul Island, the largest island in the Kermadec Islands. The location was also 370 miles from Tonga and 870 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It occurred at a depth of 116 miles, the USGS said.

The location of the quake was in a highly active seismic area where large temblors occur on a regular basis. Other than a few conservation officials on Raoul Island, the Kermadec Islands are uninhabited.

A 7.4 quake in May 2006 in the same region was also widely felt throughout New Zealand.

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