Magnitude 6.9 earthquake shakes Tasmania’s Macquarie Island

Australia was briefly on tsunami alert after a powerful earthquake struck a Tasmanian island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

A powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake rattled a Tasmanian island in the southern Pacific Ocean and placed Australia briefly on “tsunami watch” on Thursday.

The earthquake, which was revised down from an initial magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale, had a depth of 10 km, according to the Bureau of Meteorology and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

It hit Macquarie Island, which is 1,600 kilometers southeast of Tasmania, roughly halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

The island is part of Australia and is governed by the state of Tasmania. The only human population on Macquarie Island is in the Australian Antartci Division, which maintains a base there.

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

The US Tsunami Warning System said there was no tsunami warning after the quake.

The USGS recorded the quake as a magnitude 6.7 in a preliminary report, but later confirmed that it reached 6.9 on the Richter scale.

Macquarie Island became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

It is also home to a research station established in the 1940s as a waypoint for a radio link between Australia and Antarctica.

Between 14 and 40 people live on the island at the same time.

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

In 2004, a massive 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast and was felt as far away as Tasmania.

It was the strongest earthquake in the area since the magnitude 8.2 tremor of 1989.

Originally published as the 6.9 magnitude earthquake hits Tasmania’s Macquarie Island

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