Earthquake rocks South Pacific region


An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 has struck off the nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

A tsunami warning was issued to the Solomon islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, but has now been lifted.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake - which was initially reported of 7.4 magnitude - did not pose a threat.

Vanuatu lies on the Ring Of Fire, a zone of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches encircling the Pacific basin.

The earthquake struck 300 miles (485 km) northwest of Port Vila on Vanuatu at 1714 GMT at a depth of 22 miles.

"Sea level readings do not show any tsunami signals," the tsunami centre told AFP.

"If a tsunami was generated it does not pose a threat to any areas outside the epicentral region. The tsunami warning is now cancelled for all areas covered by this centre."

The centre had earlier alerted the islands of the threat.

The so-called Ring of Fire has one of the world's most active fault lines and is notorious for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

More than half of the world's active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.