A magnitude 7.5 undersea earthquake on Wednesday struck north of New Zealand, triggering a tsunami alert for the region.

The powerful quake struck in the wee hours of Thursday (1320 GMT), about 415 kilometers (258 miles) east of Vao in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

“Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within the next three hours,” the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The US Tsunami Warning Center also issued tsunami watches for New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands.

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