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7.8 Magnitude Earthquake 500 Miles Off Coast of New Zealand, Tsunami Triggered

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A 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Kermadec Islands, roughly 500 miles north of New Zealand, occurred Wednesday (early Thursday morning New Zealand time). Tsunami warnings are in effect.

UPDATE: Reuters reports that a tsunami was in fact generated. According to breaking news reports the tsunami could reach East Cape and Auckland New Zealand in a matter of hours.

UPDATE: Reuters reports the tsunami may have been destructive along the coastlines near the earthquake's epicenter:

It struck at 7:03 a.m. on Thursday (1903 GMT on Wednesday) at the epicenter, 131 miles (211 km) east of Raoul Island, part of the Kermadec archipelago, and was only 30 miles (48 km) deep, the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Center said waves were 2.2-2.7 feet (68-84 cm) high around Raoul Island.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Center said it estimated that waves would reach East Cape in New Zealand within two hours and Auckland within three hours of the quake.

The Kermadec Islands, which are New Zealand's northernmost inhabited islands, are 500 miles (800 km) northeast of New Zealand's North Island.

This is a breaking story, more details to follow...

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