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Large earthquake strikes the Solomon Islands, tsunami alert issued


PUBLISHED Thu, December 08, 2016 - 12:52pm EST
Credit: Google


A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 has struck just off the Solomon Islands, causing a number of houses to collapse, officials say. A tsunami alert that was issued has since been canceled. (more)





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The earthquake, which struck at 17:38 UTC on Thursday, was centered about 68 kilometers (42 miles) southwest of Kirakira in the Solomon Islands, or 211 kilometers (127 miles) southeast of Honiara. It struck at a shallow depth of just 48 kilometers.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) puts the preliminary magnitude of the earthquake at 7.8, down from an initial estimate of 8.0. Strong shaking was felt across the region, but details about damage and casualties are limited.

Loti Yates, of the National Disaster Management Office, told Australia's ABC that a number of houses had collapsed on Makira island. Other details were not immediately available.

The earthquake initially prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a tsunami alert for the Solomon Islands, as well as other islands in the region. It was later canceled after only small tsunami waves were observed.

The Solomon Islands are on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. The Solomon Islands arc as a whole experiences a very high level of earthquake activity, and many tremors of magnitude 7 and larger have been recorded since the early decades of the twentieth century.

On April 2, 2007, a massive 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck close to the New Georgia Islands of the Solomon Islands. It unleashed a regional tsunami, killing 52 people and destroying more than 300 homes, schools and a hospital at Sasamunga. Two people were killed as a result of landslides, which were triggered by the earthquake.

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  Solomon Islands     

 



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