Interim Report on Studies of the Mw ~7.9 Earthquake of 3 May 2006, Kingdom of Tonga

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Cummins, Phil
Whatman, James
Lahtinen, Anna-Lisa
Beavan, John
Wallace, Laura
Wiens, Douglas
Shore, Patrick
Heeszel, David
Bevis, Michael G.
Kendrick, Eric

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Institute for Geophysics



The very large and rare Mw ~7.9 Earthquake of 3 May 2006 in the Kingdom of Tonga aroused great interest among both Tongan scientists and their colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. To investigate the earthquake we formed a collaborative research group of scientists from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and the United States. We brought in seven seismographs from Australia and the US to supplement the three-station network already in Tonga and eight GPS receivers primarily for the islands west of the earthquake epicenter. In addition, we made coastal observations to determine the regional pattern of subsidence associated with the earthquake. The GPS instruments can measure horizontal and vertical motion quite precisely, but only after the earthquake from the time of deployment onward, except for some sites on Tongatapu, Vava’u, and Lifuka that had been occupied by GPS receivers in the past. This report describes our efforts.

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Cummins, P., Whatman, J., Lahtinen, A.-L., Beavan, J., Wallace, L., Wiens, D., Shore, P., Heeszel, D., Bevis, M.G., Kendrick, E., Taylor, F.W., Malolo, T., Mafi, K., Nonu, S., Fatai, T., Moala, A., and others. "Interim Report on Studies of the Mw ~7.9 Earthquake of 3 May 2006, Kingdom of Tonga." University of Texas Institute for Geophysics Technical Report No. 204 (2007), 19p.