Boom Boom Boom! M6.1, M7.2, M6.3 earthquakes hits Tonga and Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand within 6 hours – Tsunami warning after strongest earthquake


A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the Pacific after a M7.2 earthquake struck the Kermadec Islands region on June 15, 2019 at 11pm UTC.

The powerful quake was followed about six hours later by a M6.3 earthquake approximately at the same place (June 16th, 5am UTC). The regional strong regional seismic activity started on June 15, 2019 at 10pm (UTC) with a M6.1 earthquake off Tonga.

Earthquke map showing M7.2 (Kermadec islands), M6.3 earthquake (Kermadec Islands; hidden under M7.2) and Tonga M6.1 earthquake. Map via USGS

A massive 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Kermadec Islands the Pacific Ocean sparking a tsunami warning.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management issued a beach warning, telling locals to expect unusually strong, hazardous currents and unpredictable surges near the shore.

M7.2 earthquake hits Kermanec island on June 15, 2019 - Tsunami warnings for New Zealand. Earthquake map via USGS
M7.2 earthquake hits Kermanec island on June 15, 2019 – Tsunami warnings for New Zealand. Earthquake map via USGS

The quake struck at about 9am (AEST) near the Kermadec Islands region – about midway between Auckland and Tonga. 

It was preceded by a M6.1 earthquake off Tonga one hour earlier:

M6.1 earthquake tonga june 15 2019, M6.1 earthquake hit off Tonga on June 15 2019
M6.1 earthquake hit off Tonga on June 15 2019. Earthquake map via USGS

And followed by another strong M6.3 earthquake at the exact same location 5 hours later!

M6.3 earthquake hits Kermanec island on June 16, 2019 - Tsunami warnings for New Zealand. Earthquake map via USGS
M6.3 earthquake hits Kermanec island on June 16, 2019 – Tsunami warnings for New Zealand. Earthquake map via USGS

2 earthquake >M6.0 and a powerful >7.0 in the same region. That’s a lot of pressure released!

Tsunami warning for New Zealand

Preliminary investigations suggested New Zealand may avoid the tsunami, but Kiwi’s are urged to take care near the foreshore.

The NZ Civil Defence redacted their initial warning shortly after with a statement on Twitter reading: ‘Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the earthquake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will pose a threat to NZ.‘ 

A tsunami warning may be in place for parts of the Pacific after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Kermadec Islands region
A tsunami warning may be in place for parts of the Pacific after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Kermadec Islands region

The severity of currents and surges in tide may be unpredictable in the coming hours. 

If a tsunami did hit New Zealand, it was predicted to arrive within two hours of the initial quake. 

If a tsunami does hit New Zealand, it is not predicted to arrive for at least another two hours
If a tsunami does hit New Zealand, it is not predicted to arrive for at least another two hours

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a statement warning a tsunami threat exists more urgently for parts of the Pacific located closer to where the earthquake took place. 

Based on preliminary investigations, coastlines within a 300km radius of the epicenter could be threatened.    

Concerned locals have been encouraged to keep updated by checking in with the website www.civildefence.govt.nz and Twitter @NZCivilDefence. 

[USGS, DailyMail]

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