A powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Wednesday, reportedly flattening villages and prompting a “potentially destructive” tsunami wave.
The epicenter of the tremor was located at a shallow depth of 5.8 km in the area of the Santa Cruz Islands, the US Geological Survey reports. It was shortly followed by two strong aftershocks – one rated at magnitude 6.4 and another at 6.6.
A tsunami wave measuring 0.9 meters reportedly hit the Solomon Islands. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna islands.
“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated,” the Hawaii-based Pacific centre said. “It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre and could also be a threat to more distant coasts.”
A medical official on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende said that there were reports of destruction. “The information we are getting is that some villages west and south of Lata along the coast have been destroyed, although we cannot confirm this yet,” the director at Lata Hospital, told AFP.