(Reuters) – A magnitude 7.4 earthquake off the southern Pacific Ocean island of Vanuatu prompted a tsunami warning for the nearby Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on Thursday.

 The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.6, struck at 1714 GMT and was centered at a depth of 22.4 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was 22.4 miles deep and centered 133 miles northwest of Santo in Vanuatu.

“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours,” the tsunami center said, adding that it was not yet clear whether a tsunami had actually been generated.

It said the warning was in effect for the region only and that it would not expand to other areas of the Pacific based on the information known so far.

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