Earthquakes tremble Samoa and Tonga

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 12 November 2022, 8:30PM

Tremors shook Samoa early Saturday morning with the meteorology office issuing an advisory following a 7.1 quake in the Fiji islands region.

According to the advisory, the earthquake took place at a depth of 38 km and 560.34 km south west of the capital Apia.

"The public is hereby advised that although there is a not tsunami from this earthquake please take extra precaution when you are attending activities near the coastal area," the advisory said.

The activity was not large or close enough to be felt or rattle building, however on the south coast of Upolu some residents claimed to have felt mild tremors whereas many just slept through it.

A nights watchman on the beach in the Aleipata district said he felt a little movement but what had him scared was the memory of the tsunami in 2009. He said he kept looking at the sea.

"The sea looked fine. We did not see any big waves. I just kept shining the torch to see if the waves would suddenly overcome us," he said.

"But half an hour later, we were still okay though I did contact the owners of the fales to see what they wanted to do." 

A resident of the village of Lalomanu, Su'e said she slept early and did not feel anything. 

"I did not hear anything but people in my family said they felt the earthquake last night. I told them if it was a tsunami, the earthquake would have woken us," she said. 

An elderly man from the same village said he was awake and tremors did not last very long. 

"I live up the hill, and I was awake last night. But the length of the earth shaking was not long. I can tell from the online reports that the epicenter may have been close, as in Tonga, but it was not too deep so we would not expect high waves," he said. 

Several guests staying on the beach did not know of the earthquake as they slumbered through it. 

An elderly lady who survived the 2009 tsunami said she did not sleep until 2am because she was worried.

"We usually move guests from the beach up the hill when we fear the worst would happen. But the night watchmen were reporting small waves, and the guests were asleep," she said.

The Samoa Meteorological Service was quick to report on its tsunami special bulletin revising the magnitude to 7.1 in the Fiji region, instead of 6.5 in an earlier report.

Meanwhile, around the same time, an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck Tonga just before midnight on Friday night (Tonga time).

People in Tonga were initially evacuated to higher ground but so far there have been no reports of damages.

The Tongan government said the marine tsunami warning issued earlier for the entire kingdom has now been cancelled.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was 24.8km deep, 211km from the capital Nuku'alofa and east of south-east of Neiafu.

Reports from Nuku'alofa said the quake lasted about two minutes. 

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 12 November 2022, 8:30PM
Samoa Observer

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