(Reuters) - A major earthquake of magnitude 7.7. struck in the eastern Pacific Ocean on Friday, close to the Northern Mariana Islands, but was not expected to trigger a tsunami, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center


The epicenter of the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.6, was located 31 miles north of the island of Pagan, part of the sparsely populated Northern Mariana Islands volcanic archipelago. The quake was fairly deep at 132 miles (212 km) below the seabed, dampening its effect.

"Based on the depth of the earthquake a tsunami is not expected," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

(Reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington, editing by G Crosse)