Earthquake strikes off New Zealand's Kermadec Islands

WELLINGTON - A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off New Zealand's Kermadec Islands early Tuesday, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake hit at 12.19 am (1219 GMT Monday, 8.19pm Singapore time) at a depth of 34 km (21 miles), about 161 km south of Raoul Island in the Kermadecs.

The largely uninhabited islands are northeast of New Zealand's North Island. A magnitude 6.0 quake struck off North Island Saturday.

A shallow 6.3-magnitude quake devastated the New Zealand city of Christchurch in the South Island in February last year, leaving 185 people dead.

The country sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire", the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.

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