6.8-magnitude underwater quake off Tonga

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 23:15

Nuku`alofa: A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck
off the Pacific island nation of Tonga, sending panicked
residents into the streets at night, but there were no
immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reported shortly after
the quake struck at 0332 am (1332 GMT) that there was no
threat of a destructive widespread tsunami, although waves
were possible within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the
epicentre.

"There`s no indication of damage right now in this area,"
said Faleo Vico, the duty Weather Office staffer in the
capital, Nuku`alofa, 195 kilometres southwest of the
epicentre.

Residents in the capital said their homes rattled, and
the tremors set off frantic barking of dogs.

In the town of Ha`apai, on an island 300 kilometres
northeast of the capital, resident Lano Fonua said the quake
was strong and lasted about 45 seconds.

"Many people went out into the streets as the quake was
shaking the area quite a bit. It was really going," he said.
"We don`t have any reports of major damage here in the centre
of town."

The US Geological Survey said the quake was 6.8-magnitude
and was generated from a depth of 62 kilometres in the ocean.

On Sept 29, a tsunami spawned by a magnitude-8.3
earthquake killed 34 people in American Samoa, 183 in Samoa
and nine in Tonga.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 23:15

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