Earthquake of magnitude 6.9 strikes off Solomon Islands, no tsunami warning issued

SYDNEY (Reuters/AFP) - A powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck on Monday about 173km south of Dadali in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the United States Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said that it was not issuing a tsunami warning. "Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records the earthquake was not sufficient to generate a tsunami," it said.

Australian officials estimated the undersea quake at magnitude 6.8 and also said there was no tsunami threat.

"They would definitely have felt it over quite a wide area, over hundreds of kilometres," Geoscience's duty seismologist Hugh Glanville said of residents of the Solomon Islands.

"But there shouldn't be a tsunami and hopefully not too much damage," he told AFP.

Mr Glanville said the fact that the epicentre was some distance from the Solomons' main population centres and was undersea rather than on land would also limit any impact.

The Solomons are part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity known for its frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and Glanville said these kinds of tremors were "common in the region".

It is one of the most active seismic regions in the world, with a 7.0-magnitude quake striking last month off the coast of the island chain.

No damage from that tremor was reported.

However, in 2013, 10 people died and thousands were left homeless when buildings were destroyed after the Solomons were hit by a tsunami following an 8.0-magnitude quake.