7.7 mag quake strikes near Solomon Islands, tsunami warnings issued
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP):
A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck near the Pacific's Solomon Islands on Friday, prompting authorities to issue tsunami warnings for several nearby island nations.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it was investigating whether there was any tsunami threat to Hawaii.
The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The epicentre was relatively deep at 48 kilometers (30 miles) below the surface. Deeper quakes generally cause less damage on the ground.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cautioned that tsunami waves were possible in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and in Kosrae, in the Federated States of Micronesia.
The center said "widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible" within three hours of the quake, which hit just after 4:30 a.m. local time in the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands are located in the Pacific's geologically active "Ring of Fire."