Magnitude 6.8 quake hits off Solomon Islands: USGS

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit off the Solomon Islands on Friday (Jan 20).
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit off the Solomon Islands on Friday (Jan 20). PHOTO: USGS

SYDNEY (AFP) - A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit off the Solomon Islands on Friday, seismologists said, with officials in the Pacific island nation saying there were no initial reports of damage.

The US Geological Survey said quake struck at 10:04 am local time (2304 GMT Thursday) at a depth of 33 kilometres (20 miles) some 70 kilometres west of Kirakira - the same region where several large tremors struck last month.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat from the latest shake.

Three strong tremors were felt off Kirakira in December without causing serious damage.

The Solomons National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said it had not received any damage reports from the remote area.

"We haven't had any information come through," NDMO director Loti Yates told AFP from the capital Honiara.

"It's in the same area as the tremors last month and there are large cracks in the ground. Combined with heavy rain, that could cause landslips but it's too early to say at this stage and we're not making assumptions." The Solomon Islands are part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity known for frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions.

In 2007 an 8.0-magnitude quake in the Solomon Islands claimed 52 lives and left thousands homeless when it created a 10-metre tsunami.