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Powerful Earthquakes Up To 8.1 Magnitude Strike Off New Zealand; Hawaii Tsunami Watch Canceled

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CBS SF/AP) -- A tsunami watch issued for Hawaii has been canceled Thursday after a series of powerful earthquakes, including a magnitude 8.1, struck the Southwest Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency warned of a tsunami threat along the east of the country's North Island following a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck the Kermadec Islands at 8:28 a.m. local time Friday (11:28 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday.)

The quake prompted a tsunami watch for the Hawaiian Islands. As of 2:30 p.m. Pacific, the tsunami watch for Hawaii was canceled

The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center also determined that said they were not expecting one to strike the West Coast.

The magnitude 8.1 earthquake took place about two hours after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the Kermadec Islands, which are about 500 miles northeast of the country's North Island.

Earlier in the day, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck much closer to New Zealand's population centers. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered at a depth of 20.8 kilometers (13 miles) under the ocean about 174 kilometers (108 miles) northeast of the city of Gisborne. Residents of Gisborne reported light to moderate shaking, it said.

It was followed by several strong aftershocks measuring between 4.7 and 5.1 magnitudes.

The USGS determined that due to the large distance, the quake was probably not directly related to the later events.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System predicted waves of 0.3 to 1 meter (1 to 3.3 feet) from the earlier earthquake, but later said the threat had passed.

ALSO READ: 3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles North Bay Wine Country

A magnitude 6.3 quake in 2011 hit the city of Christchurch, killing 185 people and destroying much of its downtown.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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