No tsunami from 5.3 magnitude earthquake – Met. Office

The Samoa Meteorology Division says the 5.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred Tuesday wouldn't have generated a tsunami as it was not "energetic enough to break the the plates". 

According to the Principal Scientific Officer of the Geoscience section within the Samoa Meteorology Division, Fuimaono Lameko Talia, “the earthquake experienced on Monday morning at 9:15am came from the Tongan Trench".

“There is no tsunami generated by this particular earthquake because it’s quite small and not energetic enough to break apart the plate, we can still feel the energy or vibrations, any smaller scale offset of the plates.

“According to our historical records, most of our tsunamis started from magnitudes 7.5 and above.

“The distance was about 200 kilometers to the southwest of Apia, and the Tongan trench is the deepest part of the ocean - it’s a plate boundary between Samoa and Tonga,” Fuimaono said.

Fuimaono added this is the primary and main source of tsunamis and earthquakes in Samoa.

“The earthquake happened about 10 km deep below the surface of the plate not below the surface of the water.

“Our recent seismic data suggested that there is an active fault nears the inter-island between Savaii and Upolu near Faleolo area.

“The fault is like a crack in the ocean floor and it is an active fault, the origin of that fault is the Tongan trench because of the movement of the Tongan trench – and that particular area is under high stress,” he added.

He said that it is because the plate, which Samoa is sitting on, is called the Pacific plate and is actually subducting or diving underneath the Tongan plate.

“But rest assured, we are constantly monitoring 24/7 and data is coming in from all our stations around Upolu and Savaii and it will take only 2-3 minutes to analyse and send out a message in case of any urgent activities.”

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