Strong earthquake off Pacific island nation of Tonga

A massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked the ocean bed near the South Pacific island nation of Tonga, sparking warnings of a possible tsunami as far away as New Zealand.

No giant waves hit Tonga, and authorities in New Zealand after initially going on high alert said there was no danger of a damaging wave slamming into the New Zealand east coast.

Sergeant James Tasmania of Gisborne police said civil defense authorities such as police had been put on "high alert," but he added that "none of the (ocean) monitoring buoys have reported anything significant."

In the Tongan capital, the coastal city of Nuku'alofa, there were no signs of a tsunami or major damage caused by the giant quake.

A reporter who drove through the city saw no building damage, but said that inside buildings he could see bookshelves that toppled over. Power in the city was restored some two hours after the quake, reports AP.


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