Strong earthquake hits remote South Pacific area (Lead)

October 19th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Oct 19 (Xinhua) An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck a remote area of the South Pacific Ocean, 195 km east of the island nation of Tonga Sunday, the US Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The quake, occurred at 0510 GMT Sunday and was at a depth of 42 km.

Radio New Zealand quoted a newspaper reporter in Tonga as saying that buildings in capital Nuku’alofa shook for about two minutes in the quake.

No tsunami warning had been issued by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

New Zealand’s Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) earlier said an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale struck the Bay of Plenty region Sunday.

The quake struck 20 km north of Rotorua at a depth of 200 km at 12.13 p.m. Sunday.

A second quake with a magnitude of 4.3 on the Richter scale also hit 40 km southeast of Whakatane at a depth of 50 km two hours later, the GNS said.

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