PORT OLRY, VANUATU (BNO NEWS) -- A strong but fairly deep earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean near the island nation of Vanuatu on early Friday afternoon, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. No tsunami warnings were issued.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake at 1:28 p.m. local time (0228 GMT) was centered about 46 kilometers (28 miles) north-northeast of Port Olry, a town in Sanma province on the island of Espiritu Santo. It struck about 162.7 kilometers (101.1 miles) deep, making it an earthquake of intermediate depth, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Light shaking may have been felt on islands near the epicenter, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The USGS estimated up to 158,000 residents in the region may have felt weak to light shaking, but said damage was unlikely. Residents in Port Vila, 355 kilometers (220 miles) from the epicenter, did not feel the earthquake.
Neither the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center nor the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department issued a tsunami warning.
Vanuatu is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.
In August 2011, two powerful earthquakes measuring 7.1 and 7.4 on the Richter scale struck about 63 kilometers (39 miles) south-southwest of Port-Vila. Tsunami waves of up to 1.05 meter (3.4 feet) were observed on the island of Efate, but there were no reports of damage.
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