Strong M6.4 earthquake hits Tonga at intermediate depth


A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.4 hit Tonga at 23:08 UTC on December 23, 2018 (12:28 LT, December 24). The agency is reporting a depth of 100.2 km (62 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.4 at a depth of 111 km (69 miles). This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.​

The epicenter was located 85.4 km (53.1 miles) N of Nuku'alofa (population 22 400) and 99 km (61.5 miles) SW of Pangai (population 1 738), Tonga.

There are about 81 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

1 000 people are estimated to have felt moderate shaking, 91 000 light and 37 000 weak.

Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake, PTWC said.

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) and unknown/miscellaneous types construction.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, EMSC, TW


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