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Tsunami alert after 6.9 magnitude earthquake off Australia

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake was recorded near Australia.

Authorities issued a tsunami warning for Macquarie Island on Thursday evening shortly after the earthquake struck.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) first recorded a magnitude 7.4 quake off the coast of the Pacific Ocean territory around 8 p.m. local time.

Australia was on “tsunami watch” for about an hour before the ABM downgraded the threat.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also recorded the earthquake at a magnitude greater than 7, but the reading was revised down upon review.

The USGS said the quake was at a depth of 10km and struck about 40km off the coast of Macquarie Island.

Macquarie Island lies 1,000 miles southeast of Tasmania and is home to a research station established in the 1940s halfway a radio link between Australia and Antarctica.

Penguins on Macquarie Island

(Getty/iStock)

The small territory, just 21 miles long by 3 miles wide, is popular with wildlife such as penguins, seals and seabirds. It was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997.

Between 14 and 40 humans live on the island at any one time.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in the region and Macquarie Island has been hit by severe tremors in the past.

In 2004, a massive 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit the coast and was felt as far away as Tasmania. It was the strongest earthquake in the region since the 8.2 magnitude earthquake in 1989.


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