Tsunami Warning Issued In South Pacific After 8.0 Earthquake Strikes Off Solomon Islands

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By Maria Vultaggio | February 6, 2013 1:50 PM EST

A powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday in the western Pacific Ocean and may be generating a “potentially destructive” tsunami, the U.S. Geological Survey said.  

It occurred at 3:12 p.m. on Wednesday Hawaii time, KHON reported.

The quake occurred at a depth nearly 3.6 miles (5.8 km) close to the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the Solomon Islands nation, according to the USGS. 

The epicenter of the quake occurred 347 km east of Kira Kira in the Solomons, Reuters added. 

As a result, a tsunami warning has been issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the BBC said, for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna Islands. A tsunami watch is being issued for  Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

But according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, that nation is not at risk from a tsunami.

Reuters added that Hawaii was also issued a tsunami warning.

The Solomon Island make up part of the Ring of Fire, the BBC noted. It is a zone of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches that encircle the Pacific basin.

After the 8.0 earthquake occurred, there have been numerous aftershocks, the largest of which was measured at a 6.4 magnitude.

Before the powerful 8.0 quake, the region had reportedly been experiencing mini quakes in recent days.

"There was no immediate report of damages or any accidents," George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister of the Solomon Islands, told the Associated Press. "We've been hoping that reports will come in from the responsible authorities ... very soon."

As news began to break, concerned Twitter users took to the social media site:

@RyanWesleySmith wrote, “#PrayForSPIslands as the Soloman Islands have just suffered an 8.0 earthquake sending a possible tsunami to the South Pacific Islands. RT!” 

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