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US USGS Earthquake Hazards Program - Meldung Erdbeben Salomonen-Inseln
Image: USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

Large earthquake strikes off Solomon Islands

December 8, 2016

A major earthquake occurred off the coast of the Solomon Islands. Authorities reported there was a risk of a tsunami for the Solomon Islands, as well as other Asia Pacific nations, but has since passed.


A 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred 68 kilometers (42 miles) west of Kirakira at 4:38 a.m. Friday (1738 UTC Thursday.) It prompted a tsunami warning for many nations across the South Pacific.

"Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible," announced the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The warning center said there was a risk of dangerous waves in the three hours following the earthquake in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Kosrae.

Waves could be as high as 1-3 meters (3-10 feet), warned the International Tsunami Information Center. A tsunami watch that was previously issued for Hawaii has been cancelled. The tsunami warnings for the south Pacific islands have also been lifted. 

Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office director Loti Yates said there were reports of collapsed buildings in Makira, the island closest to the epicenter of the quake, but there were no reports of deaths.

kbd/se (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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