Powerful Quake Hits Off Coast of New Zealand

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A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near New Zealand's remote Kermadec Islands early Tuesday, New Zealand's GNS Science geological agency said.

New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defense issued no tsunami warning following the quake, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin on its Web site that "no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data" for the Kermadec area.

The Hong Kong Observatory said the quake was centered about 630 miles south-southwest of Nuku'alofa, Tonga and was recorded in Hong Kong at 1532 GMT Monday, or 4:19 a.m. Tuesday New Zealand time.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.0 and said its depth was 12.5 miles.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center noted quakes of this magnitude "sometimes generate local tsunami that can be destructive along coasts within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the earthquake epicenter."

Only the Kermadec's Raoul Island is inhabited, with up to six New Zealand Department of Conservation workers living there at any time.

Click here for the USGS report.