Magnitude 6.9 quake off Philippine coast

MANILA Mon Mar 3, 2008 10:17pm IST

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MANILA (Reuters) - A strong earthquake of 6.9 magnitude struck in the ocean off the east coast of the Philippines on Monday night, but so far there have been no reports of damage, officials said.

The quake, which struck at 10:11 p.m. local time (1411 GMT), was centred about 175 km (110 miles) east-southeast of Pandan, Catanduanes in the central Philippines at a depth of 24.2 km (15 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In an earlier report, the USGS said the earthquake was magnitude 7.0. and its depth was 33 km (20.5 miles).

"We have not received reports of damages but we are still checking," said Ed Laguerta, chief vulcanologist in the central Bicol region.

"We have advised officials to watch out for waves along coastal areas but there is no tsunami warning."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected, but it noted that earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that affect areas within 60 miles (100 km) of the epicentre.

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