On Sunday, the US Geological Survey (USGC) said that a massive magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean close to the islands of Fiji and Tonga.
According to the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the undersea quake was too deep to trigger a tsunami. The agency added that small tsunami waves have been observed but no damage was reported. There were also no reports of casualties.
Jana Pursley, a USGS geophysicist, told Reuters: “I would not expect any damage. People will feel it but it’s so deep that I would not expect any damage.”
A spokesperson from the Civil Defence said that there was no tsunami threat to New Zealand after the quake.
The quake hit at a depth of 347.7 miles (559.57 kilometres). initially, It was reported as magnitude 8.0 before being changed up to 8.2 by the USGC. No casualties are suspected based on initial readings.
The epicentre was 167 miles (270 kilometres) east of Levuka on the Ovalau Island of Fiji and 275 miles (443 kilometres) west of Neiafu in Tonga, a town that has a population of approximately 6,000 people.
Apete Soro, the Fiji Seismology Unit director, said that the earthquake happened closer to the Lau group of the islands, which is 62 km from the Waiqori village.
He said that there were also some reports of the quake being felt in the central and western parts of Viti Levu, the main island.
They were still working to reach out to the places in the Lau group for any reports of damages.
Samantha Rina from Suva, the capital of Fiji, said that they felt the earthquake at 12.30pm.”
She added: “I thought my head was spinning.
“When the spinning didn’t stop I got up, that’s when I realised it was not in my head.”
Rina said that her neighbours all went outside of their homes and everyone was talking about the “ripples” that they felt.
She continued: “It just felt like the earth rippled, like how one feels when in a boat out at sea, except this was on land and the house felt like it was rocking.”
She continued: “It lasted a few seconds but we all felt it here. Then I saw the news of the quake.”
The location of the quake lies in the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire, a region that is around the Pacific Ocean where various tectonic plates meet, causing earthquakes.