A powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Vanuatu Friday, US seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning issued.
The quake struck at a depth of 21 kilometers (13 miles) some 30 kilometers west of the Pacific nation’s capital Port Vila, the US Geological Survey said.
USGS said there was low likelihood of casualties and damage although it added that recent earthquakes in the area had caused secondary hazards such as landslides.
“Definitely shaking would have been felt in the area, but we have received no reports yet of any damage,” Geoscience Australia duty seismologist Hugh Glanville told AFP.
“Earthquakes are quite common in the area although being so close to Port Vila is more unusual. There will be a few aftershocks in the days and weeks ahead.”
People in the region live in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, USGS said, although some resistant buildings exist.
Vanuatu, with a population of about 280,000 spread over 65 inhabited islands, is regarded as one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.
It sits on the so-called “Pacific Rim of Fire,” making it vulnerable to strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, while powerful cyclones also regularly lash the islands.