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Magnitude-6 Earthquake Strikes Off Australia's Macquarie Island

A powerful earthquake of 6.0 magnitude struck in the Pacific Ocean off Australia's remote and sparsely-populated Macquarie Island on Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS reported that the quake struck at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles at about 3:30 p.m. local time, with its epicenter located some 14 miles northwest of Macquarie Island.

There were no immediate reports of casualities or damages, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is yet to respond to the tremor.

Macquarie Island is located in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica. Politically, it is part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900 and became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978. In 1997 it became a World Heritage Site.

The island is home to the entire Royal Penguin population on earth during their annual nesting season. Ecologically, the remote island is part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion.

Since 1948, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has maintained a permanent base on the island. The population of the base, the island's only human inhabitants, usually varies from 20 to 40 people over the year.

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