Magnitude 7.0 earthquake shocks Solomon Islands but no major damage

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A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake rattled the Solomon Islands on Tuesday afternoon, overturning tables and sending people racing for higher ground.

There were no immediate reports of widespread damage or injuries, and an initial tsunami warning was withdrawn after the threat passed.

Government spokesman George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital, Honiara, when the quake rocked the city. He said he crawled underneath his table.

“It’s a huge one that just shocked everybody,” Mr Herming said.

“We have tables and desks, books and everything scattered all over the place as a result of the earthquake, but there’s no major damage to structure or buildings,” he said.

Solomon Islands Earthquake
Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, does not have any big high-rises that might be vulnerable to an earthquake (Charley PiringiAP)

Freelance journalist Charley Piringi said he was standing outside near schools on the outskirts of Honiara when the quake sent the children running.

“The earthquake rocked the place,” he said. “It was a huge one. We were all shocked, and everyone is running everywhere.”

The quake’s epicentre was in the ocean about 35 miles (56km) south-west of Honiara at a depth of eight miles (13km), according to the US Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially warned of possible hazardous waves for the region but later downgraded a tsunami warning as the threat passed.

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

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