A total of three earthquakes reported in Tonga island region yesterday
Three earthquakes, including one registering a 7.4 magnitude and felt by some residents on the western side of Tutuila,, shook the Tongan island region yesterday but no tsunami was generated, according to local and federal officials.
The first one was a 7.4 quake that occurred around 6:19a.m. local time and was centered close to Vaini, Tonga, about 178 miles southwest of Nuku'alofa, Tonga and 442 miles southeast of Suva, Fiji, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Three local residents reported to Samoa News feeling the quake, which they say lasted for seconds. The Emergency Operations Center says they were aware of the quake and were in contact with the National Weather Service in Tafuna but no tsunami was generated.
Hawaii-Based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an information bulletin saying that a destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data. The bulletin also states that only national and local government agencies have the authority to make decisions regarding the official state of alert in their area and any actions to be taken in response.
The Center issued a similar “information bulletin” when the second 6.3. magnitude quake occurred around 10:07a.m, saying that no tsunami was generated. The USGS said this quake was centered 52 miles northwest of Nuku'alofa, Tonga; 414 miles east-southeast of Suva, Fiji; and 531 miles south-southwest of Apia, Samoa.
“No tsunami was generated” by these two quakes, said Meteorologist Mase Akapo with the National Weather Service in Tafuna, which was closely monitoring the situation with their federal counterparts in Honolulu.
He said the second quake could be an “aftershock” to the first one and the two quakes occurred about 200 miles apart.
The third quake, a minor one at 5.0 magnitude, also hit the Tonga region, about 50 miles northwest of Nuku'alofa and 533 miles south-southwest of Apia. Mase says this may also be an aftershock from the first quake.
Federal officials say the 7.4 quake occurred deep in the ocean and therefore didn’t generate a tsunami.
There have been several minor quakes in the region, which is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, over the last two weeks, especially in the Tonga and Fiji areas.
The last major quake that occurred in this region was in 2009, causing a massive tsunami that killed 34 in American Samoa, more than 100 in Samoa and three in Tonga.