Australian tsunami alert downgraded
( News.com.au ) COASTAL areas on the southeast of the Australian mainland and Tasmania were put on tsunami alert today after undersea earthquakes struck near New Zealand.
Sea level fluctuations were measured in Tasmanian waters around 6pm (AEST) by the Bureau of Meteorology, but no harm was caused and the warnings were downgraded.
Duty forecaster Simon McCulloch said the bureau received a number of calls from worried and confused members of the public in Tasmania during the alert.
"We were just allaying their fears I don't think there was ever any serious concern," Mr McCulloch said.
The alert from the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre came after a tsunami was generated from the strongest quake about 1400km southeast of Tasmania.
The quake, with a magnitude of 7.6, struck at 3.23pm (AEST) near the uninhabited Auckland Islands about 350km southwest of New Zealand's South Island.
The centre issued warnings about 15 minutes later advising coastal residents from Sydney to Hobart to listen for updates from emergency services.
Effects of the quake were seen in waters off Spring Bay on Tasmania's east coast.
"We started to see some fluctuations there of around about 20cm," Mr McCulloch said.
"We've had one or two anecdotal reports supporting that and some unusual swell as well."
Mr McCulloch said no damage had been reported.
The warning was dropped for the NSW and Victorian coastline shortly after 6pm and in Tasmania around 8pm.
A later quake off the west coast of the NZ South Island measured at 6.8 was not deemed powerful enough to trigger a tsunami.
The first quake caused tremors in southern New Zealand.