7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Reported

Photo: USGS

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Thursday (December 7) morning, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The natural disaster was located about 76 miles south of the town of Isangel on the island of Tanna and centered at a depth of 30 miles. The USGS said there was no threat of a tsunami and the chance for deaths or significant economic losses in the region were low.

Vanuatu has a population of 337,000, which includes about 1,200 residents of Isangel and is part of the 'Ring of Fire' region around the Pacific Ocean that accounts for the majority of the world's earthquake occurrences. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake have previously struck Vanuatu in May and resulted in small tsunami waves.

The latest Vanuatu earthquake occurred days after a pregnant woman was killed, four others were injured and nine are reported missing in relation to a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Mindanao, the second-largest island of the Philippines, on Saturday (December 2), BBC.com reports. A total of 529 families were affected by the natural disaster, Philippines defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro revealed in an update.

The earthquakes led to tsunami warnings in the area that were later lifted. The initial tremor was reported to be at 7.6-magnitude and resulted in four major aftershocks estimated at 6.0-magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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