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No widespread tsunami from strong quake in South Pacific

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:36 a.m. HST, Mar 3, 2012

A strong earthquake that struck off the Loyalty Islands today did not generate a Pacific-wide tsunami, officials said.

The magnitude-6.6 quake was centered about 161 miles west of Ile Hunter in the islands, which are east of Australia in the South Pacific. It struck at 11:19 p.m. near the epicenter (2:19 a.m. in Hawaii), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach issued a bulletin saying no widespread tsunami was generated but that earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive less than 100 miles from the epicenter.

The Loyalty Islands are part of the French-controlled territory of New Caledonia, which is about 1,000 miles east of Australia.

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