Pacific earthquake: Small tsunami hits Solomon Islands

Pacific earthquake: Tsunami warnings were issued for much of the South Pacific after an 8.0 earthquake hit near the Solomon Islands. But the tsunami generated by the earthquake only hit the nearby islands, prompting officials to cancel the warnings for more-distant shores.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center/NOAA/NWS/Reuters/Handout
A bulletin from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows the area affected by the tsunami warning that followed a magnitude 8.0 underwater earthquake near the Solomon Islands.

A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami that damaged dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain Wednesday, but authorities cancelled tsunami warnings and watches for more distant coasts.

Local officials in the Solomons reported two 1.5-meter (4 foot, 11-inch) waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging around 50 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. There were no reports of injuries or deaths. Villagers were heading for higher ground as a precaution, Herming said.

The tsunami formed after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake near Lata on Santa Cruz in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a 3-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami of about a meter (3 feet) was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands. The center said an 11-centimeter (4.3-inch) wave was observed in neighboring Vanuatu. The center cancelled earlier warnings for tsunami further away.

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