Written by on . Last updated June 12th, 2024.

In the South Pacific Ocean 298 kilometer from Nuku‘alofa, Tonga, a Magnitude 4.9 earthquake occurred in the night of Wednesday May 29th, 2024.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 297 kilometers (185 mi) off the coast of Tonga, 298 kilometer southwest of Nuku‘alofa in Tongatapu. The center of this earthquake had an intermediate depth of 165 km.

Date and Time: May 29, 2024 02:53AM (Tongatapu Time)
- May 28, 2024 13:53 Universal Time.
Location: 298 km SW of Nuku‘alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga.
Coordinates 23°3'39"S 177°13'8"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 4.9
Detected by 336 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.031 .
Depth: 165 km (102 mi)
An intermediate depth.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 at depths deeper than 100km are very unlikely to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in Tonga . Nuku‘alofa in Tongatapu, Tonga is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 298 kilometer (185 mi) southwest of Nuku‘alofa.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
298 km (185 mi)
NE from epicenter
Nuku‘alofa

Tongatapu, Tonga.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Risk of aftershocks?

We have not yet detected any foreshocks or aftershocks (MAG-2.5 or higher) within 100km (62 mi) of this earthquake.

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since April 28th, 2024, when a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit 148 km (92 mi) further north-northeast. An even stronger magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck on June 15th, 2023.

In total, 530 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.9 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 7 days.

Tsunami very unlikely

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

For a serious tsunami to occur, earthquakes usually need to have a magnitude of at least 6.5 and occur at a shallow depth of maximum 100km. Neither are the case with this earthquake. However always stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.9. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of 165 km (102 mi). Earthquakes this deep in the earth are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 12/06/24 14:58 (). This article contains currently available information about the earthquake and is automatically composed. We continue to update this article up to a few days after the earthquake occurred.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000n1h6
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240528_0000142
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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