updated 5/16/2006 8:06:51 AM ET 2006-05-16T12:06:51

A powerful magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit deep under the South Pacific late Tuesday near an uninhabited chain of islands north of New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a bulletin saying the quake had not generated a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami but warned it could spawn a small tsunami within 60 miles of its epicenter.

The U.S.G.S. said the quake hit at 10:39 p.m. (6:39 a.m. ET) 90 miles below the seabed about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southwest of Raoul Island, which is 712 miles northeast of New Zealand's largest city, Auckland.

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