A massive earthquake rocked the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning, according to seismologists.
The earthquake, which struck about 232 miles north-northwest of Vanuatu’s Santo, had a preliminary magnitude of 8.1, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kosrae, wallis-Futuna and Howland-Baker.
A tsunami watch is in effect for the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, the Kermadec Islands, Pohnpei, New Zealand, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia, Niue, Cook Islands, Chuuk, Indonesia, Wake Island, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Island, Guam, North Marianas, Johnston Island, Yap, Marcus Island and Belau.
It is not yet known if a tsunami was created. The earthquake struck about 15 miles deep, making it an extremely shallow earthquake. Shallow earthquakes often tend to cause more damage, and increase the risk of a tsunami.
“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” a bulletin from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center read.