Image from satellite via Google Maps

A powerful undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck off the east coast of New Caledonia in the South Pacific on Wednesday, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, adding tsunami waves had been observed.

The undersea quake was only a shallow 10 km (6 miles) deep and about 155 km (95 miles) east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia's east coast.

"Tsunami waves reaching 1 to 3 metres above the tide level are possible along some coasts of New Caledonia and Vanuatu," the PTWC said, with waves of up to one metre (three feet) possible for some coasts of Fiji.

There were no immediate reports of damage from the quake.

A spokesman for French mining and metals group Eramet, which operates the Doniambo nickel plant in the main harbour of Noumea, said it had enacted its tsunami alert process.

"The procedure is to ask people who work near the sea to move higher up," he said, adding that he had felt the quake, describing it a strong but not long-lasting shaking. 

Reuters