6.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Tonga

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific island nation of Tonga, sending panicked residents into the streets at night, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported shortly after the quake struck at 8:32 a.m. EDT that there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami, although waves were possible within 60 miles of the epicenter.

"There's no indication of damage right now in this area," said Faleo Vico, the duty Weather Office staffer in the capital, Nuku'alofa, 120 miles southwest of the epicenter.

Residents in the capital said their homes rattled, and the tremors set off frantic barking of dogs.

In the town of Ha'apai, on an island 185 miles northeast of the capital, resident Lano Fonua said the quake was strong and lasted about 45 seconds.

"Many people went out into the streets as the quake was shaking the area quite a bit. It was really going," he said. "We don't have any reports of major damage here in the center of town."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was 6.8-magnitude and was generated from a depth of 38 miles in the ocean.

On Sept. 29, a tsunami spawned by a magnitude-8.3 earthquake killed 34 people in American Samoa, 183 in Samoa and nine in Tonga.