A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit close to the Solomon islands early Friday, forecasters said. The earthquake hit less than 30 kilometres off the island of Makira-and 70 kilometres southwest of the island’s city of Kirakira-about 4:38 a.m. local time Friday, the US Geological Survey said.
The largest observed wave, according to sea level gauges, was only 0.12 meters near Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal, some 200 Kilometres northwest of the epicentre.
A receptionist at Honiara’s Pacific Casino Hotel said the shaking about five minutes long made it feel like she was floating on water. She said she isn’t aware of any damage to the building.
After the major quake, a series of almost a dozen aftershocks, including one measured at magnitude 5.9, continued through the day.
A number of tsunami warnings issued not long after the quake have been cancelled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning centre said.
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In an area where temblors are common, “The earthquake was one of the biggest and longest I have ever felt”, said Tali Hong, a resident of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands“. I was born here in Honira and lived here most of my life.
I am located in central Honiara, in one of the big urban areas, just checked with my neighbours and surrounding area, there is not visible damage.
At the capital’s Heritage Park Hotel along the waterfront, awakened guests came out of their rooms to assess what was happening, said Richard Konari, a receptionist there. Things appeared to be returning to normal, he said.
A guest at the hotel, Sita Leota, told CNN she went to higher ground a hill by the Parliament after reading about the tsunami alert online.