Tsunami watch in Hawaii following significant earthquake in Pacific

·2 min read

The latest in a string of powerful earthquakes shook part of the southwestern Pacific on Friday morning, local time, leading to far-reaching tsunami concerns.

The magnitude 8.1 earthquake occurred at 8:28 a.m. NZST Friday, or 2:38 p.m. EST Thursday, according to the USGS. The epicenter was located well northeast of New Zealand, but the shaking was felt on part of the country and nearby islands in the region.

"[This] is directly related to the M7.4 in nearly the same location just under 2 hours before," the USGS said in a Tweet. "Both of those occurred on the subduction interface between Pacific and Australia plates."

A tsunami warning was initially issued for the Kermadec Island region, but that was later changed to a tsunami advisory, where tsunami waves could reach 3 meters (10 feet), according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC)

A tsunami warning was issued for New Zealand coasts, the country's emergency management agency said. This includes the Great Barrier Island and part of the north-facing shores of the North Island.

Tsunami waves are also possible along the coasts of Fiji, American Samoa and other nearby islands. There is no tsunami threat to mainland Australia.

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A tsunami watch has been issued for Hawaii. People in Hawaii do not need to take action immediately but should prepare in the event that tsunami waves do arrive.

According to the PTWC, if a tsunami does reach Hawaii, the earliest arrival of the first wave would be 4:35 p.m. HST Thursday.

The tsunami threat has not been completely ruled out for the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada, according to the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC).

"Earthquakes of this size are known to generate tsunamis potentially dangerous to coasts outside the source region," the NTWC said. "More information will be issued as it becomes available."

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