Powerful earthquake jolts South Pacific near Vanuatu

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A powerful earthquake has been reported off the South Pacific island of Vanuatu at a depth of 41 km (25 miles) with no immediate reports of damage.

The magnitude 7.1 quake occurred at 03:55 local time, 63km (39 miles) south of the capital, Port-Vila, the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ruled out a Pacific-wide tsunami.

Vanuatu, a chain of 80 islands with a population of a quarter of a million, is prone to quakes and tsunamis.

Several powerful aftershocks later struck the same area, at least one with a magnitude of 7.0. The US Geological Survey earlier said the first quake was of a 7.5 magnitude.

It is not clear what damage has been caused.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned of the possibility of more localised tsunamis.

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