20/11/2017 10:25 AM AEDT | Updated 20/11/2017 10:54 AM AEDT

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes Near New Caledonia

It triggered tsunami waves in the area.

The earthquake struck just after 10am

Reuters - An earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck 82 kms (51 miles) east of the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia, sparking tsunami waves.

The Tsunami waves have been observed in New Caledonia and Vanuatu after the earthquake struck between the Pacific Islands on Monday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The agency said waves as high as 1 meter (3.3 ft) above the high-tide mark were forecast to hitNew Caledonia and smaller waves were expected in Vanuatu.

It said the actual size of the waves would vary depending on the coastline, with barrier reefs reducing wave height, and warned that the initial wave may not be the largest.

The quake, initially reported as magnitude 7.3, struck at 9.43 am local time (2243 Sunday GMT) at a shallow depth of 10km, the United States Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 300 kms of the epicentre.

More to come.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Richard Pullin)