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

A shallow and significant MAG-5.1 earthquake struck in the South Pacific Ocean 180 kilometer from Nuku‘alofa, Tonga in the night of Friday July 5th, 2024.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 172 kilometers (107 mi) off the coast of Tonga, 180 kilometer north-east 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: Jul 5, 2024 04:40AM (Tongatapu Time)
- Jul 4, 2024 15:40 Universal Time.
Location: 180 km NE of Nuku‘alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga.
Coordinates 20°13'6"S 173°46'44"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.1
Detected by 22 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.121 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

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 180 kilometer (112 mi) north-east of the epicenter.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
180 km (112 mi)
SW from epicenter
Nuku‘alofa

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

Risk of aftershocks?

We monitor for foreshocks or aftershocks that have a magnitude of 2.5+ and occur within 100km (62 mi) of the epicenter of this earthquake. So far no such earthquakes have been detected.

Aftershocks are usually at least 1 order of magnitude less strong than main shocks. The more time passes, the smaller the chance and likely strength of any potential aftershocks.

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 June 28th, 2024, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 199 km (124 mi) further west-southwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck on November 11th, 2022.

In total, 237 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.1 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 15 days.

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 5.1. 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 16:08 (). 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 us7000mx39
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240704_0000181
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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