Two earthquakes did not trigger tsunami – Met Office

Two earthquakes that shook Samoa on Friday night and Saturday morning occurred in the space of six hours and did not generate a tsunami.

This was confirmed by the Assistant C.E.O. of the Samoa Meteorological Service, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, during an interview with Samoa Observer.

“An earthquake was felt 11:41 pm on Friday night which had a magnitude of 6.2 with a depth of 22.7 km which occurred in the Tongan region and felt by most of our people with a distance of 239 km south-southwest from Apia,” he said.

“Another earthquake that took place around 5:52 am on Saturday morning within the Samoan region with a 5.5 magnitude and a depth of 32.7 km and a 211 km distance south-southwest from Apia but both did not generate any tsunamis.

“This is an active region and we do experience more tremors monthly about 2,000 or 3,000 small tremors."

Mulipola told this newspaper that the earthquakes occurred because Samoa is located in an active region.

“This active region is known as the Ring of Fire [is a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur] but the earthquakes are caused by the movement of plates such as the Australian and Pacific.

“It is because the Pacific Plate has subducted below the Australian plate but Samoa is located right at the edge of the Pacific plate. 

“Members of the public should rest assured that there is nothing to worry about at this stage this is a normal routine of earthquakes.”

He added that based on predictions any earthquake that is higher than that which occurred in 2009 would maybe occur in another 70 years or so.

“We might have an 8.1 earthquake in the future around 70 years which depends on the mechanism that would generate a tsunami," he added.

“But our office are always on alert and that is why we have a 24/7 staff members working different shifts to ensure that our weather forecast and earthquakes/tsunami are monitored but most importantly for the safety of our people and property.”

In terms of Samoa currently in the cyclone season, Mulipola said there is the risk of tropical cyclones this year and early next year as the country enters what he described as an "active season"

“From our calculations and research, the earlier period of next year will be likely for Samoa to have a lot of tropical depressions.”

He said a media release from their office stated that compared to the last year, Samoa's risk has been increased with the possibility of two or three cyclones passing within a 400 kilometre radius for Samoa.

“At least one of those tropical cyclones is expected to reach Category 3 (a wind speed of at least 178km/h to 111 miles/h) or greater (Cat.4 – Cat.5), says the Samoa Tropical Outlook 2019-2020 season.

Mulipola, in a previous interview with this newspaper, said that Samoa is in "active season” where the members of the public should better prepare and be alert in terms of rainfall, flooding, high winds, and landslides.

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