HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (BNO NEWS) -- A strong earthquake struck the main island of the Solomon Islands on late Wednesday evening, destroying an unknown number of houses and causing injuries, seismologists and local officials said on Thursday. No tsunami warning was issued.
The 6.5-magnitude earthquake at 10:20 p.m. local time (1120 GMT) was centered about 39 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. It struck about 22.9 kilometers (14.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Emergency management officials in Honiara said they have received reports that a number of houses in settlements near the epicenter were destroyed and damaged, injuring at least one person. But the extent of the damage in the remote area was not immediately clear, and officials were still working to determine if there were other victims.
The USGS estimated that some 137,000 people on Guadalcanal island may have felt moderate to strong shaking, while 348,000 others may have felt light shaking. The tremors caused scores of people to run out of their homes and flee inland or to higher ground in fear of a tsunami, which was not generated.
Both the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center (JATWC) said there was no threat of a tsunami and did not issue a warning. "A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," PTWC said in a bulletin.
The Solomon Islands are on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.
The Solomon Islands arc as a whole experiences a very high level of earthquake activity, and many tremors of magnitude 7 and larger have been recorded since the early decades of the twentieth century.
On April 2, 2007, a massive 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck close to the New Georgia Islands of the Solomon Islands. It unleashed a regional tsunami, killing 52 people and destroying more than 300 homes, schools and a hospital at Sasamunga. Two people were killed as a result of landslides, which were triggered by the earthquake.
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