SYDNEY – A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami of about 5 feet that damaged dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain today, but authorities canceled warnings for tsunamis on more distant coasts.
There were no initial reports of deaths or injuries. Solomons officials reported two waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging around 50 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution, Herming said.
The tsunami formed after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Lata on Santa Cruz in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a 3-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami of about 3 feet was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands. Smaller waves were recorded in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
The center canceled earlier warnings for tsunami waves farther away.
The Solomons comprise more than 200 islands with a population of about 552,000 people. They lie on the “Ring of Fire” – an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim and where about 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur.