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Tsunami warning for Solomon Islands lifted

A tsunami warning has been cancelled for the region surrounding the Solomon Islands. The alert followed a 7.6-magnitude earthquake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center dropped its alert for the Solomon Islands on Sunday, roughly two hours after it had originally issued a tsunami warning for the region, including Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

In a bulletin posted on its website, the center warned of dangerous sailing conditions even though the threat of a tsunami had passed.

"Danger to boats and coastal structures can continue for several hours due to rapid currents. As local conditions can cause a wide variation in tsunami wave action, the all clear determination must be made by local authorities," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The initial alert came after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Solomon Islands at roughly 7:15 a.m (2015 UTC). The US Geological Survey recorded the epicenter at 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of the archipelago at a depth of 29 kilometers (18 miles).

The local population had been made aware of the threat and responded quickly, according to a local constable.

"So far we have received no reports of damage," Constable Taylor Fugo of the Kirakira police said. "The people responded very well to the warning. They all went up the hills and have been watching and waiting for advice."

Initial reports had said that the tremor had a magnitude of 8.3. Once its strength was downgraded, the tsunami warning center ended its watch for Australia, Fiji, Indonesia and Guam.

The Soloman Islands are located in the "Ring of Fire," an arc of tectonic activity that stretches around the Pacific.

kms/sgb (AFP, Reuters)