A strong 7.0 earthquake shakes the Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands were rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday, prompting residents to flee to higher ground.
The Australian embassy, airport and shopping malls were damaged. The earthquake also caused power outages in the capital, Honiara.
Solomon Islands government spokesman George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital, Honiara, when the earthquake hit the city.
“It’s a big one that just blew everybody away,” he said.
DOZENS DEAD AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE THAT ROCKS INDONESIA’S MAIN ISLAND OF JAVA
“We have tables and desks and books and everything scattered everywhere as a result of the earthquake, but no major damage to the structure or the buildings,” Herming continued.
The spokesman said Solomon Islands does not have large high-rise buildings that could be vulnerable to an earthquake, noting that there was some panic in the city and traffic jams as people tried to drive to higher ground .
STRONG EARTHQUAKE RAKES WEST INDONESIA, NO TSUNAMI WARNING ISSUED
The quake’s epicenter was in the ocean about 56 kilometers, or 35 miles, southwest of Honiara, at a depth of 13 kilometers, or 8 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of potentially dangerous waves for the area, but later downgraded the tsunami warning.
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The Solomon Islands lie on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, an arc along the edge of the Pacific Ocean where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are most common.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.