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Tsunami warning level lowered after major earthquake near Tonga

Tsunami warning level lowered after major earthquake near Tonga


NEW YORK – A large earthquake struck Tonga on Friday, prompting a tsunami warning and an immediate evacuation order from the island nation’s government.

The government initially told local residents to flee to higher ground after what it said was a 7.9-magnitude earthquake near the town of Neafu on Vava’u Island, before lowering the alert level and urging the public to “exercise particular caution”.

“Based on observations of the Tonga tide gauge, a tsunami of 10 centimeters was recorded in Naiafu, Vava’u, 6 centimeters in Niuatoputapu and 5 centimeters recorded in the Nuku’alofa tide gauge at 1am this morning,” the government announced in the latest statement. .

Because the wavelength of the tsunami is less than 1 foot wide, she said, “these tsunamis are only expected to affect our coastlines at this time.”

However, the statement warned that ocean currents around marine coastal areas “may be strong and erratic and special care must be taken.”

The government has also advised the public to stay away from low-lying coastal areas, beaches and port areas, adding that people should avoid swimming and any related activities until the warning is lifted.

The government said the quake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Neiavo.

The US Geological Survey (USGA) said on Friday that a 7.3-magnitude earthquake was detected 211 kilometers east of Neiafu, Tonga.

Earlier this year, Tonga experienced a record-breaking underwater volcano eruption, which sent a huge plume of ash, gas and steam up to 20 kilometers into the atmosphere and sent tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean.

The main island, Tongatapu, was severely damaged by the tsunami and was choked in a thick layer of ash. At least two deaths were reported at that time. – CNN




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