Tsunami alert wound back after large quake hits off Vanuatu

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Officials wound back an initial tsunami threat issued after a large earthquake struck off the coast of the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu on Sunday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the danger had largely passed and canceled an earlier warning of a possible tsunami as a result of the quake, which was initially measured at a magnitude of 7.2 but later revised down to 6.9.

The quake was also deemed to be deeper that first thought - 33 kilometers (21 miles) as opposed to 10 kms, Kanoa Koyanagi, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii told Reuters.

Koyanagi said experts expected waves of no larger than 30 centimeters, well below tsunami levels, from the quake which struck 151 km north northwest of Vanuatu's Santo island.

"Based on all data available ... the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now mostly passed," the center said in a statement.

The Vanuatu Meteorological Services, a government department, said there were no reports of damage.

Anna Romero, a doctor staying at a hotel near the town of Luganville on Santo told Reuters she felt the tremor, but saw no signs of damage.

Earthquakes are common in the area and even large tremors often cause no tsunamis. A 7.3 magnitude quake struck off Vanuatu in October and a 6.3 quake struck in December without causing any damage.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook, Jill Gralow and Jane Wardell; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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Tsunami alert wound back after large quake hits off Vanuatu
Relief workers saw a flattened landscape and widespread destruction in their first views of Vanuatu's outer islands after struggling for days to assess the areas of the South Pacific nation hit hardest by a fierce cyclone.
In this Monday, March 16, 2015 photo, an Australian RAAF C-17 Globemaster containing aid is unloaded in Vanuatu's capital Port Villa. Vanuatu's president said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
Winds from an extremely powerful cyclone that blew through the Pacific's Vanuatu archipelago were beginning to subside on Saturday, revealing widespread destruction and unconfirmed reports of dozens of deaths. (March 14)
In this Monday, March 16, 2015 photo, clothes are seen laid out to dry as Adrian Banga surveys his destroyed house in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila. Aid has begun arriving in the storm-hit nation's capital following Cyclone Pam, but contact has still not been made with some of its more remote islands. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
Graphic locates Vanuatu; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale (2nd L) walks with unidentified staff at Vanuatu International Airport after arriving home from Japan on March 17, 2015, after Cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. Vanuatu on March 17 warned it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the Pacific archipelago. AFP PHOTO/Jeremy PIPER (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)
A view of part of Vanuatu's capital Port Vila on March 17, 2015 after Cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. Vanuatu warned it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the sprawling Pacific nation. AFP PHOTO/Jeremy PIPER (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on March 17, 2015 shows men trying to repair a damaged bridge in Port-Vila, in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Vanuatu warned on March 17, 2015 it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the Pacific archipelago. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on March 17, 2015 shows a damaged bridge in Port-Vila, in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Vanuatu warned on March 17, 2015 it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the Pacific archipelago. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents clean up their homes in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila on March 17, 2015 after Cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. Vanuatu warned it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the sprawling Pacific nation. AFP PHOTO/Jeremy PIPER (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view shows clothes drying on a roof as residents clean up their homes in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila on March 17, 2015 after Cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. Vanuatu warned it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the sprawling Pacific nation. AFP PHOTO/Jeremy PIPER (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)
Children play in the debris in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila on March 17, 2015 after Cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. The UN said that twenty-four people have been killed by Cyclone Pam, as the Pacific nation's president pleaded for help to rebuild the archipelago's 'completely destroyed' infrastructure. AFP PHOTO/Jeremy PIPER (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Monday, March 16, 2015 photo, an Australian RAAF C-17 Globemaster, en route to Vanuatu, is loaded with supplies and aid workers. Vanuatu's president said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
This aerial photo taken on March 16, 2015 shows the cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Aid agencies on March 16 described conditions in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu as among the most challenging they have ever faced, as the Pacific nation's president blamed climate change for worsening the devastation. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
Samuel, only his first name given, carries a ball through the ruins of their family home as his father, Phillip, at back, picks through the debris in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam Monday, March 16, 2015. Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
Samuel, only his first name given, and as his father, Phillip, right, stand amongst of their destroyed home in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam Monday, March 16, 2015. Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
Samuel, only his first name given, kicks a ball through the ruins of their family home as his father, Phillip, at back, picks through the debris in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam Monday, March 16, 2015. Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
Uwen Garae surveys his damaged house in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam Monday, March 16, 2015. Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a "monster" that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)
This aerial photo taken on March 16, 2015 shows the cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Aid agencies on March 16 described conditions in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu as among the most challenging they have ever faced, as the Pacific nation's president blamed climate change for worsening the devastation. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
This aerial photo taken on March 16, 2015 shows uprooted trees in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Aid agencies on March 16 described conditions in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu as among the most challenging they have ever faced, as the Pacific nation's president blamed climate change for worsening the devastation. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
This aerial photo taken on March 16, 2015 shows the cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after Super Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through on March 13, packing wind gusts of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour. Aid agencies on March 16 described conditions in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu as among the most challenging they have ever faced, as the Pacific nation's president blamed climate change for worsening the devastation. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
PORT VILA, VANUATU - MARCH 16: Adrian Banga surveys his destroyed house on March 16, 2015 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cyclone Pam has hit South Pacific islands on Saturday with hurricane force winds, huge ocean swells and flash flooding and has caused severe damage to housing. Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region. (Photo by Dave Hunt - Pool/Getty Images)
PORT VILA, VANUATU - MARCH 16: An aerial view of damaged houses in seen on March 16, 2015 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cyclone Pam has hit South Pacific islands on Saturday with hurricane force winds, huge ocean swells and flash flooding and has caused severe damage to housing. Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region. (Photo by Dave Hunt - Pool/Getty Images)
Aid workers have described the moment a fierce storm hit the south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu - saying "it felt like the world was going to end". Dozens are feared dead, trees have been uprooted, entire villages destroyed as Cyclone Pam ripped through the islands with winds reaching nearly 170 miles an hour. Frightened residents are now attempting to embark on the huge clean up operation, with no power or running water.
Map locates Cyclone Pam that hit the island of Vanuatu; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;
The sea is pictured on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks near the sea on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at the sea on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
The sea is pictured on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
Damage is visible in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Sunday, March 15, 2015 after Tropical Cyclone Pam ripped through through the pacific island nation. Winds from the powerful cyclone have subsided revealing widespread destruction. (AAP Image/ Kris Paras)
Damage is visible in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Sunday, March 15, 2015 after Tropical Cyclone Pam ripped through through the pacific island nation. Winds from the powerful cyclone have subsided revealing widespread destruction. (AAP Image/ Kris Paras)
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale, left, Minister for Climate Change James Bule, center, and National Disaster Management Office Director Shadrack Rubart Welegtabit discuss before an interview in their hotel room in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, March 16, 2015 while attending a U.N. conference on disaster risk reduction. The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has lost years of development progress and must "start over" following a powerful cyclone that destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings on the main island of Port Vila, the country's president said Monday. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale speaks during an interview in his hotel room in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, March 16, 2015 while attending a U.N. conference on disaster risk reduction. The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has lost years of development progress and must "start over" following a powerful cyclone that destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings on the main island of Port Vila, the country's president said Monday. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)
PORT VILA, VANUATU - MARCH 15: This handout image provided by UNICEF, shows Teouma bridge affected by storm damage on March 15, 2015 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cyclone Pam is pounding South Pacific islands with hurricane force winds, huge ocean swells and flash flooding. (Photo by UNICEF via Getty Images)
The sea is pictured on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks near the sea on March 14, 2015 in the Anse Vata, south of Noumea, New Caledonia. Rain and wind were observed in the island but the Tropical Cyclone Pam had little effect on Noumea. The maximum category five cyclone hit Vanuatu island, 500 km east of New Caledonia, late on March 13 and early indications suggest widespread damage, including in the capital in Port Vila, with fears dozens of people could have died across the country. AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET (Photo credit should read FRED PAYET/AFP/Getty Images)
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