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Solomon Islands rocked by major earthquake, day after 7.8 magnitude tremor

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2016 08:56 IST
Reuters, Sydney
A man stands alongside a building belonging to the World Vision aid organisation that was damaged by an earthquake in Kirakira on the Solomon Islands on Friday.(Reuters)

The Solomon Islands were rattled by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, just a day after hundreds of people along the coast fled into the hills following a 7.8 magnitude tremor.

The latest quake initially triggered a fresh tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, but that was lifted by authorities a short time later. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said the threat had largely passed and only small waves were recorded along the coastline.

“Based on all available data, the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed,” the PTWC said in an alert after the quake 89 km (55 miles) west of Kira Kira, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported was 10 km (6 miles) deep.

Waves of less than 0.3 metre (nearly a foot) above the tide level were forecast for Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Solomon Islands have been hit by a series of aftershocks since Friday’s initial major quake that struck 130 km (80 miles)from the capital Honiara.

That first powerful quake in the early hours of Friday triggered a series of tsunami alerts across the region, sending hundreds of people in the Solomons scrambling to higher ground.

There were no confirmed casualties from Friday’s quake, although communications across the archipelago of some 900 far-flung islands, where several significant naval battles were fought during World War Two, can be difficult.

Hundreds of people in southern Makira province, closest to the epicentre, spent Friday night in the hills.

First Published: Dec 10, 2016 01:14 IST