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Powerful 8.0 quake strikes off Solomon Islands and triggers tsunami warnings

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 9:44pm

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific early Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, sparking a tsunami warning.

The center of the quake was located some 360 miles east-southeast of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, the USGS said. It was reported to be 3.6 miles deep.

A tsunami warning was issued for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna, according to the the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

A tsunami watch was in effect for more places: the Marshall Islands, Howland and Baker, Pohnpei, Tokelau, Samoa, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia, Niue, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Wake Island, Chuuk, Jarvis Island, Guam, Northern Marianas, Palmyra Island, Yap, Johnston Island, Minamitorishima and Belau.

The quake was followed by several aftershocks in the region, the largest of which had a magnitude of 6.6, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Nathan Becker, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN that conditions are right for the making of a tsunami.

However, authorities are waiting to see if a wave passes their instruments, and it might be an hour before they know more, he said.

There is no evidence of a wave at the moment and no reason to expand the alert, Becker said. 

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