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Earthquake Hazards Program

Magnitude 8.1 SAMOA ISLANDS REGION

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 17:48:10 UTC

News Release

The following is a release by the United States Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center: An earthquake occurred 180 km (110 miles) ENE of Hihifo, Tonga at 11:48 AM MDT, Sep 29, 2009 (6:48 AM local time in Samoa). The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. No reports of damage or casualties have been received at this time. Earthquakes of this type sometimes cause tsunamis, however the USGS has no information that an actual tsunami has been generated. For information about tsunamis, contact the NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers at http://tsunami.gov.

At least 149 people killed in Samoa, 34 people in American Samoa and nine people killed and four injured on Niuatoputapu, Tonga. Widespread damage to infrastructure at Pago Pago, American Samoa, in many parts of Samoa and on Niuatoputapu, Tonga. Felt (V) at Apia, Samoa and (IV) at Ili`ili and Tafuna, American Samoa. Felt in much of American Samoa, Samoa and northern Tonga. Felt as far away as Wallis and Futuna Islands. A tsunami with wave heights (peak-to-trough) was recorded at: 314 cm at Pago Pago, American Samoa; 140 cm at Apia, Samoa; 47 cm at Rarotonga and 8 cm at Penrhyn, Cook Islands; 41 cm in the Chatham Islands, 37 cm at Raoul, 22 cm at East Cape, 21 cm at North Cape, 21 cm at Tauranga, 16 cm at Napier, 15 cm at Gisborne, 11 cm at Wellington and 3 cm at Waitemata Harbour, New Zealand; 14 cm at Nuku`alofa, Tonga; 11 cm at Papeete, French Polynesia.

Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver


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