Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Quake off Solomon Islands triggers tsunami

A small tsunami hit the eastern Solomon Islands after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that triggered tsunami warnings for several Pacific nations.

The quake struck at 01:12 GMT near the Santa Cruz islands, part of the Solomon Islands nation, the US Geological Survey said.

A tsunami measuring 0.9m (3ft) subsequently hit Lata in the far eastern Solomons.

The centre said the tsunami could be destructive near the epicentre.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated," the Hawaii-based centre said.

"It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre and could also be a threat to more distant coasts."

Initial reports by the USGS said the quake had a shallow depth of 5.8km (3.6 miles) but it later revised the figure to 28.7km (17.8 miles).

The tsunami warning was issued for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna islands.

A tsunami watch was issued for other nations in the South Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. However, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology later said Australia was not at risk from a tsunami.

France issued a tsunami warning for its New Caledonia territory, saying that the wave could strike at about 03:00 GMT. Residents near the coast were being advised to evacuate.

Irene Scott, a reporter with Paoa FM on the Solomon Islands, told the BBC there were reports of houses being inundated in eastern Temotu province, but no serious damage or injuries.

The Solomon Islands form part of the Ring Of Fire, a zone of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches encircling the Pacific basin.

The 8.0 earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, the largest measuring 6.6 magnitude.

The region has been experiencing a series of smaller quakes in recent days.

In 2007 an 8.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.


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