Magnitude 7.6 - TONGA REGION

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2009 March 19 18:17:40 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location23.050°S, 174.668°W
Depth34 km (21.1 miles) set by location program
Distances220 km (135 miles) SSE of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga
490 km (305 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
495 km (305 miles) ESE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
1845 km (1140 miles) NE of Auckland, New Zealand
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 5.5 km (3.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=323, Nph=323, Dmin=760.8 km, Rmss=0.96 sec, Gp= 14°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=A
Event IDus2009ejbr
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Earthquake Summary

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Tectonic Summary

The broad-scale tectonics of the earthquake region are dominated by the relative convergence of the Pacific and Australia plates. The Pacific plate subducts westward beneath the Australia plate at the Tonga trench. At the latitude of the earthquake, the Pacific plate moves westward with respect to the interior of the Australia plate at a velocity of about 77 mm/year. The eastern edge of the broad Australia plate may itself be viewed as a collection of small plates or microplates that move with respect to each other and with respect to the Pacific plate and the Australia plate interior. In terms of numbers of earthquakes, the broad-scale Australia/ Pacific plate boundary is one of the most active in the world. Earthquakes occur on the thrust-fault boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates, within the Pacific plate, and within and on the boundaries of the small plates that together compose the eastern edge of the overall Australia plate.

Tsunami Information

The earthquake locations and magnitudes cited in NOAA tsunami statements and bulletins are preliminary and are superseded by USGS locations and magnitudes computed using more extensive data sets.

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