Strong quake strikes near Solomon Islands; no tsunami threat

AP News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2016 12:47 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A strong earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Tuesday, but there were no initial reports of injuries or damage and it did not trigger a tsunami warning.

The magnitude-6.7 quake was likely an aftershock of a powerful earthquake that hit the Solomon Islands on Dec. 9. That magnitude-7.7 quake killed one person and left hundreds with homes that were damaged or destroyed. The earlier earthquake also triggered dozens of strong aftershocks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's quake was centered about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kirakira and 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of the Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara. It had a depth of 35 kilometers (22 miles).

A man who answered the phone at the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office said the quake did not feel particularly strong where he was located in the capital, but that they were still awaiting reports from those parts of the island nation nearest the epicenter. He said he didn't have any reports of damage or injuries.

The Solomon Islands sit on the Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common.

There was also another big earthquake in neighboring Papua New Guinea on Saturday. That magnitude-7.9 quake knocked out power in parts of Papua New Guinea and triggered a small tsunami.