Tsunami alert as magnitude 7 earthquake hits Solomon Islands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Tuesday afternoon, triggering a tsunami warning.

There were no immediate reports of widespread damage or injuries.

Freelance journalist Charley Piringi said he was standing outside a warehouse next to a primary and secondary school on the outskirts of the capital, Honiara, when the quake hit, sending children running.

“The earthquake shook the place,” he said. “It was huge. We were all shocked and everyone is running around.

The quake’s epicenter was in the ocean about 56 kilometers (35 miles) southwest of Honiara at a depth of 13 kilometers (8 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Dangerous waves are possible for islands in the region, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, but it said no wider tsunami threat was expected.

The quake can produce waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) above tide level for the Solomon Islands, the center said, and smaller waves for the coasts of Papua New Guinea and from Vanuatu.

The Solomon Islands are located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc along the edge of the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

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