WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Two strong earthquakes struck the Solomon Islands on Sunday, triggering tsunami warnings, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
People throughout the Pacific island chain awoke to a strong quake at 7:14 a.m., government spokesman George Herming said. People on Makira and nearby islands southeast of the capital, Honiara, reported seeing three large waves after that temblor, he said.
The magnitude-7.6 quake’s epicenter was 323 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Honiara, at a depth of 29 kilometers (18 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Following the morning quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center canceled a tsunami warning after issuing an alert for some Pacific islands. The center reported that sea level readings indicated a small tsunami was generated that may have caused some destruction near the epicenter.
Late Sunday night, a magnitude-7.4 quake struck in the same area at a depth of 35 kilometers (22 miles), the USGS said. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea following that temblor.
The Solomon Islands, home to 600,000 people, was already reeling from devastating flash floods that struck Honiara and other areas April 3. The floods have killed 23 people and left 9,000 more homeless. Herming said up to 30 more people remain missing.
“It has really been a tough time,” he said.
Andrew Catford, the Solomon Islands country director for World Vision, said after the morning quake that the aid group’s staff in the Kirakira office in Makira province reported that there was no tsunami, but strong currents and heavy waves pounding the reefs. He said the group’s staff evacuated to higher ground as a precaution.
“We felt this one strongly in Honiara. It was close to 30 seconds long,” he said.
The Solomon Islands lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.
TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT NUMBER 2
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
305 AM HST SUN APR 13 2014
TO – CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII
SUBJECT – FINAL TSUNAMI INFORMATION STATEMENT
THE EARTHQUAKE MAGNITUDE IS LOWERED TO 7.4 IN THIS MESSAGE.
THIS STATEMENT IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. NO ACTION REQUIRED.
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME – 0236 AM HST 13 APR 2014
COORDINATES – 11.5 SOUTH 162.1 EAST
LOCATION – SOLOMON ISLANDS
MAGNITUDE – 7.4 MOMENT
BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. REPEAT. A DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED AND THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.
THIS WILL BE THE FINAL STATEMENT ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED.