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New Zealand sees 8.1 magnitude earthquake, lifts tsunami warnings following series of quakes


New Zealand residents were given the all-clear to return to their homes after a series of earthquakesover several hours set off tsunami warnings, according to reports.

Three earthquakes struck the Pacific region over a period of 6 hours on Friday, with the last quake registering as 8.1 magnitude -- one of the most powerful earthquakes in the region in modern history.

GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Residents wait on higher ground following a tsunami warning on March 5, 2021 in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. A number of low-lying coastal areas were evacuated across New Zealand following a series of earthquakes this morning. While the threat level has now been downgraded, wave surges are still expected along coastal areas, with New Zealanders warned to stay off beaches. (Photo by Bridget Cameron)

GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Residents wait on higher ground following a tsunami warning on March 5, 2021 in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. A number of low-lying coastal areas were evacuated across New Zealand following a series of earthquakes this morning. While the threat level has now been downgraded, wave surges are still expected along coastal areas, with New Zealanders warned to stay off beaches. (Photo by Bridget Cameron)

Officials issued advisories for coastal areas after the first quake -- registering as 7.3 magnitude -- originated around 100 miles from the islands.

"We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore," New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency tweeted.

The quakes created waves ranging from 3 to 10 feet in height and forcing officials to issue tsunami warnings in various countries around the Pacific.

The strongest quake originated about 620 miles northeast of New Zealand.

Even Hawaii observed a tsunami warning that lasted 2 and a half hours, Hawaii News Now reported.

GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Residents wait on higher ground following a tsunami warning on March 5, 2021 in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. A number of low-lying coastal areas were evacuated across New Zealand following a series of earthquakes this morning. While the threat level has now been downgraded, wave surges are still expected along coastal areas, with New Zealanders warned to stay off beaches. (Photo by Bridget Cameron)

GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Residents wait on higher ground following a tsunami warning on March 5, 2021 in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. A number of low-lying coastal areas were evacuated across New Zealand following a series of earthquakes this morning. While the threat level has now been downgraded, wave surges are still expected along coastal areas, with New Zealanders warned to stay off beaches. (Photo by Bridget Cameron)

Despite the significant strength of the earthquakes, no widespread injuries or deaths have been reported. New Zealand residents only reported gridlock as people fled their homes for higher ground, as well as some structural damage.

A smaller, 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people on the southern-most island of Christchurch. 

Residents have been told they may return home, but have been warned to remain off beaches, although authorities said the largest waves have passed, the BBC reported.




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