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Powerful earthquake shakes South Pacific nation of Vanuatu; no tsunami threat

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A powerful earthquake shook the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Thursday evening, but countries in the region said there was no threat of a tsunami.

The magnitude 7.1 earthquake was located 123 kilometers (76 miles) south of the town of Isangel on the island of Tanna, the U.S. Geological Agency said. It said the quake was centered at a depth of 48 kilometers (30 miles).

The chance of fatalities and large economic losses in the sparsely populated area was low, it said.

Vanuatu has a population of about 337,000, with about 1,200 living in Isangel.

The area is part of the "Ring of Fire," an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

A 7.7 earthquake in May created small tsunami waves in Vanuatu.

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