Solomon Islands rocked by 6.9 quake

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Monday, rocking the capital Honiara, but there was no Pacific-wide tsunami in the tremor-prone region, officials said.

The shallow undersea quake was centred some 214 kilometres (132 miles) west of Honiara, the United States Geological Survey said.

"We felt it and we got a bit dizzy," a worker from Honiara's Iron Bottom Sound Hotel, who did not want to give her name, told AFP.

Director of the Solomons National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, said threat analysis had determined the quake would not generate a tsunami but he was waiting to hear back that remote islands had escaped damage.

"It's shallow and that's always cause for concern," Yates said.

"Earthquakes can cause underwater slips that can generate a tsunami," he said, adding that he would have expected to have already heard had there been serious damage.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which also measured the quake at 6.9, had earlier said "a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected".

Australian officials estimated the undersea quake at magnitude 6.8 and said it would have been felt across hundreds of kilometres.

"They would definitely have felt it over quite a wide area," Geoscience Australia's duty seismologist Hugh Glanville said.

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

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 frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and Glanville said such tremors were "common in the region".

It is one of the most seismically active parts of 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.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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