WASHINGTON - A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off the Kermadec Islands, northeast of New Zealand, the US Geological Survey reported on Wednesday.
The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.9, triggered a tsunami warning for New Zealand, the Kermadec Islands and Tonga, the US Pacific Tsunami Center said.
It struck at 7:03 a.m. on Thursday (1903 GMT on Wednesday) at the epicenter, 131 miles (211 km) east of Raoul Island, part of the Kermadec archipelago, and was only 30 miles (48 km) deep, the USGS said.
The US Pacific Tsunami Center said as it issued the tsunami warning that it did not yet know whether an actual tsunami had developed but said that if it had, it would hit East Cape in New Zealand within two hours and Auckland within three hours of the quake.
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