Earthquake rocks South Pacific region

BBC News (Link) (May 27, 2010)

An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 has struck off the nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

A tsunami warning was issued to the Solomon islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, but has now been lifted. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake - which was initially reported of 7.4 magnitude - did not pose a threat.

Vanuatu lies on the Ring Of Fire, a zone of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches encircling the Pacific basin.

The earthquake struck 300 miles (485 km) northwest of Port Vila on Vanuatu at 1714 GMT at a depth of 22 miles.

�Sea level readings do not show any tsunami signals,� the tsunami centre told AFP.

�If a tsunami was generated it does not pose a threat to any areas outside the epicentral region. The tsunami warning is now cancelled for all areas covered by this centre.�

The centre had earlier alerted the islands of the threat.

The so-called Ring of Fire has one of the world�s most active fault lines and is notorious for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

More than half of the world�s active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.