Tsunami threat lifted after big South Pacific quake

Wed Feb 6, 2013 12:18pm IST

Map locating the epicentre of an 8.0 magnitude quake that struck off Solomon Islands. REUTERS GRAPHICS

Map locating the epicentre of an 8.0 magnitude quake that struck off Solomon Islands.

Credit: Reuters GRAPHICS

Related Topics

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

REUTERS - A powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, triggering a small tsunami that swept into isolated island communities and sparked tsunami alerts across the South Pacific that were later cancelled.

Damage reports were limited, and there were no reports of casualties.

The quake struck 340 km (211 miles) east of Kira Kira in the Solomons, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said.

A tsunami measuring 0.9 metres (three feet) hit remote Temotu province in the Solomons following the quake, the center said, but it later cancelled warnings for other South Pacific islands, as well as for Australia and New Zealand, as the danger of a major destructive wave passed.

Luke Taula, a fisheries officer in Lata on Santa Cruz Island, which took the brunt of the tsunami, said it arrived in small tidal surges rather than as one large wave.

"We have small waves come in, then go out again, then come back in. The waves have reached the airport terminal," he told Reuters by telephone.

The worst damage would be to villages on the western side of a point that protects the main township, he said.

"There are no casualties reported so far. But there are reports that some communities have been badly hit, their houses have been damaged by the waves."

About 5,000 people lived in and around the town, but the area was deserted as people fled to higher ground, Taula said, adding that aftershocks were being felt.

HOT SPOT

The Solomons, perched on the geologically active "Pacific Ring of Fire", were hit by a devastating tsunami following an 8.1 magnitude quake in 2007. At least 50 people were killed then and dozens left missing and more than 13 villages destroyed.

"It's an area that is very prone to earthquakes," said Jonathan Bathgate, seismologist at Geoscience Australia. "We've had seven 6-plus magnitude earthquakes in this region since January 31, so it has been very active in the past week."

Initial signs were that the tremor was a thrust quake, in which vertical movement in the continental plates generates higher risk of tsunami, Bathgate added.

Authorities in the Solomons, Fiji, Guam and elsewhere had urged residents to higher ground before the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled its alerts.

"The earthquake would have to be quite a bit bigger to make a much more sizeable tsunami," said Brian Shiro, geophysicist for the center in Hawaii.

"The good news for the folks in the region is that the tsunami appears to be constrained to the areas we've listed in our bulletins and it's not going to be a an oceanwide threat."

(Reporting by James Grubel in CANBERRA,; Additional reporting by Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast in SYDNEY and Alex Dobuzinskis in LOS ANGELES; Editing by Ken Wills)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Paucity of Rains

Patchy Rain

Met office rules out surplus monsoon in 2014   Full Article 

Boat Tragedy

Boat Tragedy

Boy and girl on Korean ferry tied life jackets together before they drowned.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels, Russia starts drill near border.  Full Article 

Big Buyback

Big Buyback

Apple expands buybacks by $30 billion.  Full Article 

Put A Ring On It

Put A Ring On It

Actress Jodie Foster marries girlfriend Alexandra Hedison.  Full Article 

Times Top List

Time 100

Janet Yellen, Miley Cyrus odd bedfellows in Time's list of 100 most influential.  Full Article 

Champions League

Champions League

Benzema strike gives Real Madrid edge over holders Bayern Munich.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage