A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck at sea off the Tonga Islands late Friday afternoon, according to the US Geological Survey (USGC) Institute of Geophysics, triggering a tsunami warning.

According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km, about 200 km southeast of Neiafu, a town in the northeast of the Pacific archipelago.

"Dangerous tsunami waves are possible for coasts within 300 km of the earthquake's epicenter," said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Seismic activity is relatively frequent around the Tonga archipelago, which has about 100,000 inhabitants spread over 171 islands.

In January, the archipelago was devastated by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, followed by a tsunami.

The eruption of this volcano, about 65 kilometers north of the capital Nuku'alofa, caused a tsunami that affected 85% of the population of the archipelago, according to the United Nations.


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