- Associated Press - Thursday, January 13, 2011

SYDNEY (AP) — A strong earthquake hit the waters off a French territory in the South Pacific early Friday. A widespread tsunami was not expected.

The U.S Geological Survey reported a 7.0-magnitude quake centered on New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands hit overnight. The remote chain is about 1,000 miles east of the Australian city of Brisbane.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake, though only three miles deep, was not expected to trigger a widespread, destructive tsunami. It added, however, that temblors of such strength sometimes trigger smaller, local waves.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The area in the southern Pacific is sparsely populated and sees frequent seismic activity, including strong earthquakes.