Major earthquakes strike near Fiji, Indonesian island

The U.S. Geological Survey reported an 8.2-magnitude earthquake about 200 miles from Fiji and Tonga. Map courtesy of USGA

Aug. 19 (UPI) — Major earthquakes struck the Pacific on Sunday — about 200 miles from Fiji and Tonga and in Indonesia’s Lomback island, where hundreds died in a tremor less than two weeks ago.

The Fiji-Tonga area was hit by three quakes, the largest one 8.2 magnitude, and Indonesia was struck by a pair of tremors, the strongest at 6.9.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the largest one near Fiji and Tonga was 348 miles miles deep at 12:09 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (12:09 p.m., local time) and was followed four minutes later by a 6.3 one and four later with a 6.8 temor at similar depths nearby.

The biggest quake was 168 miles east of Levuka in Fiji and 275 miles west of Neiafu in Tonga.

A destructive tsunami was not expected, and there was no threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Only minor damage was reported in Tonga and no reported of damage in Fiji, according to Radio New Zealand.

The last 8.0 or greater earthquake was an 8.2 in Mexico on Sept. 7, 2017, according to the USGA.

The Lomeback island quake was centered 3.7 miles northeast of Sembalunlawaang at 4:10 a.m. GMT (11:10 a.m. local time). The USGS said it would have been felt to a moderate level on the island and less in the neighboring tourist island of Bali.

The second one 10 hours later was 6.9, south of Belanting.

No deaths were reported on Lombak but residents fled landslides.

On Aug. 15, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the waters north of Lombok island, killing 436 people.

The earthquakes Sunday are in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin.


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