2009 Tonga earthquake

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2009 Tonga earthquake
2009 Tonga earthquake is located in Oceania
2009 Tonga earthquake
Date March 19, 2009 (2009-03-19)
Magnitude 7.6 Mw[1]
Depth 40 km (25 mi)[1]
Epicenter 23°08′S 174°35′W / 23.13°S 174.58°W / -23.13; -174.58[1]
Areas affected Tonga
Max. intensity VII (Very strong)[2]

The 2009 Tonga earthquake occurred on March 19 at 18:17:41 UTC with a moment magnitude of 7.6 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). The event occurred several hundred kilometers to the southeast of Nuku'alofa (the capital of Tonga), and was felt 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) distant on New Zealand's North Island, but there were no injuries or significant damage.[3] A tsunami warning was issued but was later cancelled.[4]

The earthquake occurred four days after the beginning of a major undersea volcanic eruption near Hunga Tonga. There has been no confirmation yet of a direct link between the volcanic eruption and earthquake, but Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist for the United States Geological Survey, stated that "it seems suggestive at this point".[4] Keleti Mafi, the Tongan government's chief seismologist, has suggested that the earthquake is likely to have a direct impact on the volcanic eruption, stating that the "strength of the earthquake could crack the volcano's (undersea) vent and allow more magma to be ejected".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c ISC (2015), ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900–2009), Version 2.0, International Seismological Centre 
  2. ^ National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS), Significant Earthquake Database, National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, doi:10.7289/V5TD9V7K 
  3. ^ "South Pacific spared quake damage". BBC News. 2009-03-20. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Major quake strikes off Tonga". CNN. 2008-03-19. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  5. ^ "Strong quake near Tonga prompts tsunami warning". Yahoo News. 2009-03-20. Archived from the original on March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 

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