BIG QUAKE HITS TONGA

HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, May 3) – A Pacific-wide tsunami warning was cancelled today after an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale shook Tonga.

No damage was initially reported, though a change in sea level was recorded in Niue and American Samoa.

According to Reuters, the quake hit at 4:26 a.m. about 100 miles north of the Tongan capital Nukualofa.

A small tsunami was generated.

Tongan civil defense officials are investigating.

Some Tonga residents said they felt the quake’s tremors for nearly a minute.

The previous biggest earthquakes in the Tonga region of the Pacific were a magnitude 6.7 in January 2004 and a 7.2 in January 2000.

The earthquake temporarily cut power in Nuku'alofa and tipped objects from shelves but caused no major damage nor injury.  Tongan officials said they were checking outer islands in the group, particularly the low-lying Hapai Islands, which were near the epicentre.  May 4, 2006

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