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New Zealand cancels tsunami warning after quake

New Zealand civil defense authorities canceled a tsunami warning on Thursday but warned of possible stronger than normal ocean currents around the east coast of the country after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean north east of the country.
/ Source: NBC, msnbc.com and news services

New Zealand civil defense authorities canceled a tsunami warning on Thursday but warned of possible stronger than normal ocean currents around the east coast of the country after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean north east of the country.

The quake struck at 7:03 a.m. Its epicenter was 131 miles east of Raoul Island, part of the Kermadec archipelago, and was only 30 miles deep, the USGS said.

It said a tsunami was generated by the earthquake around the Kermadec Islands, around 1180 kilometers (737 miles) north east of New Zealand, but scientists has advised it was of no threat to New Zealand.

Auckland regional Civil Defense controller Clive Manly told Radio New Zealand it was not expected to cause damage inland: "You can get quite extreme currents -- so it is a threat to boats — but at this stage we are not anticipating damage to land."

The first surge had been expected at eastern coastal areas of the North Island just before 9 a.m. local time (5 p.m. EDT), but there were no reports of unusual activity.

A small research team on Raoul Island, the main island in the group was reported safe and well.

New Zealand's Civil Defense office warned people to stay off beaches and stay out of the water as long until the tsunami passed.

The Kermadec Islands are a remote outpost that are generally uninhabited aside from a weather station and a hostel for visiting New Zealand scientists.