POSTED: 08:24 a.m. HST, Oct 21, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 10:04 a.m. HST, Oct 21, 2011
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat from a large earthquake near the Kermadec Islands in the South Pacific.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6 and hit at a depth of about 24 miles.about 112 miles east of Raoul Island at about 7:57 a.m. Hawaii time. The Kermadec Islands are located about 541 miles south of Tonga and 736 miles northeast of New Zealand.
The warning center said that based on historic earthquake and tsunami data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no threat to Hawaii.
However, a local tsunami is possible.
The remote Kermadec Islands are generally uninhabited aside from a weather station and a hostel for visiting New Zealand scientists and staff. The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported the country's National Crisis Management Center had been activated, and that Civil Defense officials warned people in coastal areas to stay off beaches.
Another magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck the region in July, but the eight New Zealand staffers at the Raoul Island outpost at the northern end of the Kermadecs were unharmed.
The region lies on the "Ring of Fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. About 90 percent of the world's quakes occur in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.