Earthquakes rattle Samoa, Tonga

Strong earthquakes have struck off the South Pacific nations of Tonga and Samoa, but there have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning has been issued.

The US Geological Survey said the first quake had a magnitude of 6.4 and a depth of 11 kilometres, striking 109km northeast of Tonga's Hihifo district on Monday night.

It was followed 30 minutes later by a magnitude-6.5 quake that had a depth of 15km and struck 99km northeast of Hihifo.

Leveni Aho, Director of Tonga's National Emergency Management Office, said his staff was trying to make contact with officials on the islands near the epicentre, but had not received any reports of damage. No tremors were felt on Tonga's main island, located about 600km south of Hihifo, he said.

"I think if there was anything significant, it would have been reported by now," Aho said.

In Samoa, the quake was felt throughout most of the islands, and lasted less than a minute, said Filomena Nelson, assistant chief executive officer of the nation's Disaster Management Office. There were no reports of damage, she said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no threat of a tsunami.

A Samoa Police Headquarters spokeswoman in Apia said the earthquake lasted about 20 seconds, but was not severe.

"It was like a small shake and that was it."

There were no initial reports of damage in Apia, she said.

Ad Feedback

New Zealand's Geonet duty seismologist John Ristau said there was no tsunami threat as a result of the quake.

Earlier on Monday, a powerful quake rattled the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea, generating a small tsunami but prompting no reports of injuries or damage.

Earthquakes are common in the region, which lies on the "Ring of Fire" - an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.

The quakes came just hours after a major 7.5 quake struck of the coast of Papua New Guinea coast, near the town of Rabaul, in the country's northeast.

A tsunami warning was issued soon after the PNG quake, though the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said no destructive, Pacific-wide tsunami was expected.

The quake hit 55 kilometres southeast of Kokopo, the capital of East New Britain province that's home to about 26,000 people, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, which initially warned that waves as high as 3 metres were possible, said later the threat had mostly passed.

READ MORE: Tsunami warning lifted after PNG quake

- with agencies
Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback