USGS: Magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes off coast of Fiji

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck off the island nation of Fiji on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)said.

The quake, which struck at 10:52 a.m. (1652 EST on Tuesday), was located 175 miles (282 km) southwest Fiji's capital, Suva, at a shallow depth of 9.4 miles (15 km), the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a local tsunami warning and said that hazardous tsunami waves were possible and could strike the coastline of Fiji by 11:45 a.m. (1745 EST on Tuesday).

"We felt it ever so slightly in Suva," Sune Gudnizt, head of the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters by telephone.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sandra Maler)