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7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes off Tonga

It was followed 4 hours later by a second powerful 6.6 tremor 84 km northwest of Tonga's capital.

Written by AFP | Sydney |
May 24, 2013 10:43:45 am

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck 255 kilometres (158 miles) southwest of Tonga today,according to the US Geological Survey,but there were no reports of damage.

The quake hit at 5.19 am local time (2249 IST yesterday),

and was centred 282 kilometres southwest of Tonga’s capital

Nuku’alofa and 171 kilometres deep.

It was followed four hours later by a second powerful 6.6 tremor 84 kilometres northwest of the town and 103 kilometres deep.

“A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said of each quake.

The Matangi Tonga website said the quakes “shook homes and rattled windows” in Nuku’alofa but reported no damage.

The powerful tremors also caused false alarms in New Zealand where the official GNS Science monitoring system reported tremors of 6.1 and 5.9 magnitude off the east coast of the North Island.

A GNS spokesman said the New Zealand measuring devices had picked up the quakes from outside their network and tried to locate them and automatically sent out alerts,which were later deleted.

The two quakes off Tonga came 12 days after a similar 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck near the pacific nation at a depth of 205 kilometres.

Tonga,almost 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) northeast of New Zealand,lies on the so-called “Ring of Fire”,where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic activity.

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