A major magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck roughly 600 miles northeast of New Zealand on Thursday afternoon, triggering concerns of a potentially damaging tsunami.
It’s the third major earthquake in less than eight hours on the Kermadec Fault, which passes east of New Zealand. A magnitude 7.3 hit near New Zealand early on Thursday, followed by a 7.4 about 560 miles to the north a few hours later.
A tsunami warning is in effect for New Zealand. The country’s National Emergency Management Agency tweeted “TSUNAMI WARNING issued following Kermadecs earthquake.”
“People near coast from the BAY OF ISLANDS to WHANGAREI, from MATATA to TOLAGA BAY, and GREAT BARRIER ISLAND must MOVE IMMEDIATELY to nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible,” they wrote.
Officials in New Zealand urged residents “walk, run or cycle” to higher ground to avoid the chance of becoming stuck in traffic.
Guam, Fiji, American Samoa, Samoa, Vanuatu and other islands could be directly impacted too.
A tsunami watch was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for Hawaii.
“Based on all available data, a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” the center wrote.