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03 May, 2006

Latest Update on Tonga Earthquake & Tsunami

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck early Thursday near the South Pacific nation of Tonga, the U.S. Geological Survey said. A warning said it was possible a tsunami could hit Fiji and New Zealand within minutes.

A Tongan police officer in the capital, Nuku'alofa, said there were no immediate reports of damage or a tsunami.

The temblor, classified by the USGS as a "great" quake, struck 95 miles south of Neiafu, Tonga, and 1,340 miles north-northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It occurred 20 miles beneath the sea floor.

The U.S. National Weather Service warned that a tsunami could strike Fiji as soon as 1:13 p.m. EDT Wednesday and New Zealand by 2:21 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it was not known whether the quake generated a potentially deadly giant wave. It issued the warning for Tonga, Niue, American Samoa, Samoa, Wallis-Futuna, Fiji.

A tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii.

Source: AP

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