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Steam rises from a volcano on the island of Ambae, part of the Vanuatu nation, in 2005. The islands, hit by an earthquake today, sit on the Pacific's Ring of Fire. AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

Strong earthquake hits islands in Pacific

No damage or casualties yet reported in 7.5-magnitude quake in ‘Ring of Fire’ region.

THE PACIFIC ISLAND nation of Vanuatu was struck by an earthquake measuring 7.5 today. The US Geological Survey has classified the tremblor as “significant” and said that it struck at 3.55am local time.

The quake hit just 39 miles south-southwest of Port Vila in Vanuatu – which is in fact a string of around 80 small islands – and 25 miles underground. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has not released a tsunami alert but it is not yet known if the quake caused casualties or damage to the 250,000 strong population that lives on the Vanuatu islands. They are part of the so-called Ring of Fire in the south Pacific because of the number of active volcanoes there.

The island was stuck by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake last December, and a 6.5 quake in March but neither caused damage.

This map shows the most recent seismic activity in red (today’s quake and aftershocks), as well as those which took place in the past day (the blue block) and in the past week (in yellow):

[caption id="attachment_206388" align="alignnone" width="627" caption="Via US Geological Survey"][/caption]

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