msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/2/2010 3:07:24 AM ET 2010-07-02T07:07:24

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the island nation of Vanuatu, the U.S. Geological Survey reported early Friday.

No tsunami warning was issued. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The quake was centered 138 miles northwest of the island of Santo, Vanuatu. The quake struck at 5:04 p.m. local time (2:04 a.m. EDT) at a depth of 21.7 miles.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said there was no widespread tsunami threat, but warned quakes of that size could generate localized tsunamis along coastlines within a few hundred miles.

Police in the capital Port Vila said they had not received any reports of damage or rising sea levels, but the area the quake hit is off the country's remote northwest, with little communications.

"We have not received any reports of damage or sea change from the disaster office," said a police officer in Port Vila on the island of Efate in the southern end of the island chain.

Vanuatu is a 'Y' shaped archipelago of 83 islands, population 235,000, about 1,000 miles east of Australia, according to the U.S. State Department. Its terrain features mostly mountains of volcanic origin and narrow coastal plains.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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