Powerful earthquakes hit under sea near Fiji

Two powerful undersea earthquakes struck within seconds near Fiji on Tuesday, geologists said, and officials issued a tsunami alert for the local area. No damage or injuries were immediately reported. The first quake, with a magnitude of 6.3, occurred at 3:16 p.m. (0316 GMT) about 255 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Vanua Levu, the main tourist spot in Fiji's chain of islands, at a depth of 29 kilometers (18 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Seconds later, a magnitude 6.8 aftershock struck nearby, about 760 kilometers (472 miles) west of Apia, the capital of neighboring Samoa, the survey said. The second quake was much deeper, at 166 kilometers (102 miles) beneath the ocean floor.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a bulletin that said there was no Pacific-wide threat of a destructive tsunami, but that quakes of the size measured Tuesday could cause damaging local tsunamis.

Nilesh Kumar, technical officer at Fiji's Mineral Resources Department, said there had been no reports of any tsunami and no reports from anywhere in Fiji of shakes being felt. Kumar said the department was maintaining a watch and was in communication with the warning center in Hawaii, reports the AP. I.L.

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