20 Mar 2009

Tsunami warning cancelled

9:57 am on 20 March 2009

A tsunami alert issued after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake occurred off the Tonga islands region has been cancelled.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially issued advisories for Tonga, Fiji, Nuie, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna and the Kermadec Islands.

The centre said sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated but its waves were not much higher than normal sea levels.

The US Geological Survey reported the earthquake occurred about 209km southeast of Nuku'alofa, at 6.17am local time on Friday (1818 GMT on Thursday) at a depth of 10km.

An undersea volcano erupted off Tonga earlier this week, 10km off the main island, Tongatapu.

GNS Science says the volcano is erupting in two areas and the eruption may last up to a week.