Tonga region in US hit by powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake

A car drives past a crack in the road on Highway 178, south of Trona, California, after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the south of the state. —AFP/file

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Tonga, prompting authorities to assess the tsunami threat, but no warning was issued, providing relief to coastal areas.

The seismic event occurred offshore, with its epicentre located approximately 73 kilometres northwest of Hihifo, Tonga. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake had a considerable depth of 212 kilometres (132 miles). 

Despite the significant magnitude, the US Tsunami Warning System promptly declared that no tsunami warning was necessary following the occurrence.

This seismic activity caused concern among authorities who were vigilant about potential tsunamis due to the earthquake’s proximity to the ocean. Given its offshore nature, experts immediately initiated an assessment of the situation to determine if any tidal waves might pose a threat to coastal areas. Fortunately, based on available information and the absence of any imminent danger, the US Tsunami Warning System concluded that no tsunami alert was warranted.

The seismic event serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of earthquakes and the importance of monitoring systems that can promptly detect and analyze such occurrences. The gathered data from this event will contribute to the broader understanding of seismic activity in the region, assisting researchers and scientists in their ongoing efforts to improve earthquake forecasting and preparedness measures.

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