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Sydney: A shallow and powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific islands of New Caledonia Wednesday, US seismologists said, triggering a tsunami warning for the area.

"Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters" the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, "hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1000 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre."

New Zealand authorities issued a similar warning after the quake, which struck just 10 kilometres beneath the surface. USGS originally gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.6 before revising it downwards slightly.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2018