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A total of 421 significant earthquakes struck near Tonga in 2022, almost 150 more than in 2021. The small island kingdom has climbed into the top 10 of most earthquake-prone countries, surpassing nations like Argentina, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Greece and Russia.

A magnitude 4+ earthquake every 21 hours

Tonga jumped from 22nd in the list to position 10 in 2022. Last year, the nation faced the highest number of earthquakes since measurement started 10 years ago.

In 2022, Tonga registered 421 earthquakes measuring magnitude 4 or stronger within 300 kilometers of the country. This comes down to an average of 35 earthquakes per month, or an earthquake every 20 hours and 48 minutes.

More earthquakes, but less strong

The strongest earthquake in proximity of Tonga last year measured a magnitude of 6.2, and struck 255 km north of Nukuā€˜alofa on January 27th 2022. While the frequency of earthquakes near the island nation has increased 55 percent year over year, slight comfort might be found in the fact that Tonga's strongest earthquake in 2022 was less severe than the strongest earthquakes in previous years: a mag 6.5 earthquake in 2021, a mag 6.4 earthquake in 2020 and a mag 6.6 earthquake in 2019.

Not the only Pacific island nation

The most earthquake-prone Pacific island nation in 2022 was Papua New Guinea, on 8th position. Guam (24th), Vanuatu (28th) and Fiji (31nd) made it to the list as well. With 2186 earthquakes in 2022, the Southeast Asian country of Indonesia continues to be the most earthquake-prone country on earth. It is followed by Mexico and Japan.

The so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" is the most earthquake-prone region in the world. The entire top 10 is comprised of countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Iran is the first non-pacific country in the list, on position 14 with 316 earthquakes in 2022.

This publication is based on the Earthquakelist.org 2022 Top Countries Report. The site relies on data from the US Geographic Survey (USGS) and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) for its calculations. Taken into account are any magnitude 4+ earthquakes occurring within 300 kilometers of countries.