|UTC time||2006-05-03 15:26:40|
|Local date||May 4, 2006|
|Magnitude||8.0 Mw |
|Depth||15 km (9 mi) |
|Max. intensity||VII (Very strong) |
|Tsunami||.54 m (1 ft 9 in) |
|Casualties||1 injured |
The 2006 Tonga earthquake occurred on 4 May at 04:26:35 local time with a moment magnitude of 8.0 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (very strong). One injury occurred and a non-destructive tsunami was observed.
CNN and BBC reports showed that the town of Gisborne, New Zealand was being evacuated.Civil Defence in New Zealand had issued no statements, and there was no information inside New Zealand about Gisborne being evacuated. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a warning 17 minutes after the earthquake for coastal areas around the Pacific. An hour later, the center downgraded the warning to only the region within 600 miles of the epicenter, and an hour after that, it canceled the alert.
The event caused very limited damage. The previous large earthquake in Tonga, in 1977, was of a lower magnitude but resulted in more severe damage. A likely cause is that the 2006 quake generated other frequencies that only resulted in resonance in small items. In shops, cans and bottles which contained fluids fell from shelves, while the bigger items and those containing dry goods were largely unaffected. There was very little damage reported in Tonga apart from pictures fallen from the walls or items tumbled down from cupboards and shelves.
Since the earthquake occurred underwater, tsunami warnings were issued, but then lifted.