Strong Quake Triggers Small Tsunami
(05/03/06 - BANGKOK, THAILAND) -- A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck early Thursday near the South Pacific nation of Tonga, prompting tsunami warnings for as far away as Fiji and New Zealand. The warning was lifted after a tsunami of less than 2 feet was recorded.
There were no reports of a tsunami or damage from the quake. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu lifted its tsunami warning for all areas within several hours. It said there was no data indicating that the earthquake generated a giant wave.
Tonga -- a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti -- has a population of about 108,000 and an economy dependent on pumpkin and vanilla exports, fishing, foreign aid and remittances from Tongans abroad.
It is ruled by 87-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, who is ailing.
On Dec. 26, 2004, the most powerful earthquake in four decades -- magnitude 9.0 -- ripped apart the Indian Ocean floor off Indonesia's Sumatra island, displacing millions of tons of water and spawning giant waves that sped off in all directions.
The tsunami left at least 216,000 people dead or missing in a dozen nations.
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