The US Geological Survey has reported that a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck in the sea 285 kilometres (177 miles) southwest of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa. It said the quake was recorded at a depth of 170 kilometres (105 miles) and had struck at 5.19am NZT.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on its website that no “destructive Pacific-wide tsunami” was expected. The local news website Matangi Tonga said that the earthquake shook homes and rattled windows in the capital city. But no damage has been reported at this time although it has shaken buildings in the capital.
GeoNet, based in New Zealand, had reported not one but three quakes in the North Island, the largest being 6.1, but they have since removed those reports as they were caused by the Tongan quake.
This is the second time in 11 days that an earthquake has struck the region with a 6.5-magnitude quake on May 11. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center says the quake hit shortly after 20:46 GMT Saturday.
On the 11th of May the quake struck 218 miles northwest of the capital, Nuku’alofa. It occurred 127 miles below the surface. Just like today’s quake no tsunami warning had been issued.
Tonga which is known officially as the Kingdom of Tonga, is a sovereign state and an archipelago comprising 176 islands scattered over 270,000 square miles of the southern Pacific Ocean. Fifty-two of these islands are inhabited.
Tonga actively advertises for tourists and their advertisement’s state, “With over 170 islands full of wonder and un-spoilt beauty, there are plenty of unforgettable adventures on offer for any traveller in the Kingdom of Tonga. So if you’d love to experience the true South Pacific, we’d love to have you. It’s true! Start your journey here, at the official Tonga Tourism website. And make sure you also click below to see our lastest TV ad.”
So far there have been no reports of damage.
By Michael Smith