Written by on . Last updated July 18th, 2024.

A shallow and significant M5.7 earthquake struck in the South Pacific Ocean 70 kilometer from Nuku‘alofa, Tonga in the night of Saturday June 29th, 2024. Roughly 90 thousand people may have felt this earthquake.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 57 kilometers (36 mi) off the coast of Tonga, 70 kilometer northwest of Nuku‘alofa in Tongatapu. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jun 29, 2024 02:00AM (Tongatapu Time)
- Jun 28, 2024 13:00 Universal Time.
Location: 70 km NW of Nuku‘alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga.
Coordinates 20°38'56"S 175°37'53"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.7
Detected by 20 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.069 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
IV
Light

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 90 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 90 thousand people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is IV, which corresponds with light shaking and likely no damage. Roughly 81,650 people are expected to be exposed to this level. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Tonga .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
0
II
Very weak None
11,080
III
Weak Probably none
81,650
IV
Light Likely none
0
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in Tonga . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Nuku‘alofa in Tongatapu, Tonga. Nuku‘alofa is located 70 kilometer (43 mi) northwest of the epicenter. Nuku‘alofa experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly IV. That level implies light shaking and likely no damage.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
70 km (43 mi)
SE from epicenter
Nuku‘alofa

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

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is IV.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

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.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major 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 May 26th, 2024, when a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit 158 km (98 mi) further north-northeast. An even stronger magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on November 1st, 2014.

In total, 55 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.7 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 2 months.

Low tsunami risk

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.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so 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 5.7. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 18/07/24 15:08 (). This article is automatically generated based on available data. We keep checking multiple sources for additional information. This article gets updated as new details on this earthquake become available.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000n8vk
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240628_0000151
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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