The earthquake was initially reported at a magnitude of 7.9, later revised to 7.3. It happened at a depth of only 10 kilometers and strongly shook the whole island in the Pacific Ocean. Shortly after, authorities issued a tsunami warning and people were urged to leave low-lying areas, CNN reports.
Tsunami alert after 7.9 magnitude earthquake near Tonga
The Kingdom of Tonga is an independent and sovereign island nation in the Pacific Ocean
The government of the island nation of Tonga on Friday called for an immediate inland evacuation after what it said was a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that triggered a tsunami warning.
“A strong earthquake has occurred near Tonga and was felt across the kingdom. A dangerous tsunami could occur within minutes,” the government said in a statement posted on its website.
People were told to take refuge immediately on the hills or at least on the third level in strong buildings, and the sailors
“Sailors are advised to move to the depths of the ocean, away from the reefs,” the Tongan government said in a statement.
Dangerous tsunami waves caused by the earthquake are possible within 300 km of the epicenter along the coasts of Niue and Tonga, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers, about 200 kilometers east of the town of Neiafu on the island of Vava’u.
The United States Geological Survey (USGA) detected the earthquake at a magnitude less than 7.3.