World

New Zealand tsunami warning called off

A tsunami warning issued for New Zealand after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean has been called off, but officials are still urging people to be cautious in coastal areas.

A tsunami warning issued for New Zealand after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean north of the country has been called off, but local officials are still urging people to be cautious in coastal areas.

The quake hit at 7:03 a.m. local time about 161 kilometres east of Raoul Island in the remote Kermadec Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Kermadecs are about 920 kilometres south of Tonga, the nearest major island, and are 1,185 kilometres northeast of Auckland, N.Z.

A tsunami warning was issued by the U.S.-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for the Kermadecs, Tonga and New Zealand after the quake but it was later called off.

New Zealand's Civil Defence office also cancelled its tsunami warning, though officials urged people to exercise caution before entering the water or going out in boats.

Scientists safe

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

Department of Conservation spokesman Nick Hirst said that the four scientists and four volunteers on Raoul Island were shaken but unharmed, and their facilities undamaged. Hirst said a big part of the agency's job on the islands is to eradicate weeds and animal pests to preserve native species.

Initial reports suggested a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, but the U.S. Geological Survey later revised it to a 7.6 magnitude quake.

With files from The Associated Press