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

In the night of Wednesday July 10th, 2024, a shallow and significant M5.2 earthquake hit in the South Pacific Ocean 126 kilometer from Nuku‘alofa, Tonga.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 118 kilometers (73 mi) off the coast of Tonga, 126 kilometer north-east of Nuku‘alofa in Tongatapu. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 7 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jul 10, 2024 04:28AM (Tongatapu Time)
- Jul 9, 2024 15:28 Universal Time.
Location: 126 km NE of Nuku‘alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga.
Coordinates 20°26'45"S 174°14'29"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.2
Detected by 342 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.031 .
Depth: 7 km (4 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 . Located 126 kilometer (78 mi) north-east of the epicenter of this earthquake, Nuku‘alofa (Tongatapu, Tonga) is the nearest significant population center.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place
126 km (78 mi)
SW from epicenter
Nuku‘alofa

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

Risk of aftershocks?

This earthquake did not have any significant foreshocks nor aftershocks occurring within 100km (62 mi) of its epicenter.

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.

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 June 28th, 2024, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 146 km (91 mi) further west. An even stronger magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck on November 11th, 2022.

In total, 177 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2 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 21 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 5.2. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 7 km (4 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 18/07/24 15:58 (). 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 us7000my1i
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240709_0000171
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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