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Small tsunami generated after Vanuatu earthquake

Aug 10, 2010 3:38:00 AM - thestate.com
Panicked residents of Vanuatu raced for higher ground after a powerful earthquake rattled the South Pacific island nation and generated a small tsunami on Tuesday.

The 9-inch (22 centimeter) wave was observed off the capital Port Vila, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Police said there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries from the wave or the 7.5 magnitude quake that preceded it, though buildings shook and power lines were down.

"It was quite a significant earthquake, and we're still having a few aftershocks," Ben McKenzie of the New Zealand High Commission told The Associated Press by phone from Port Vila.

The quake hit about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Port Vila at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Police spokesman John Frat told the AP that officials had not received any reports of injuries or major damage, but described the temblor as "a very sharp quake - it was the worst I have felt in my life."

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