East Hawaii News

Center: No Hawaii Threat from Latest Earthquake in Solomons

February 5, 2013, 4:59 PM HST
* Updated February 8, 5:36 PM
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The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a powerful earthquake that struck this afternoon in the Solomon Islands did not generate a Pacific-wide tsunami, and poses no threat to Hawaii.

The 8.0-magnitude quake occurred at a depth of about 20 miles in the Santa Cruz Islands, which are located in the southeastern part of the Solomons archipelago. It occurred at 3:12 p.m. Hawaii time, or 12:12 p.m. Wednesday, Solomon Islands Time (SBT).

A tsunami warning, which means that a tsunami is occurring or is imminent, was issued for the area close to the Solomons including Fiji and New Caledonia.

According to the center based in Ewa Beach, Oahu, a tsunami was generated locally. The biggest wave recorded as of 4:52 p.m. measured about three feet tall at Lata, the provincial capital of Temotu Province, which was formerly known as the Santa Cruz Islands Province.

A tsunami watch, which means a tsunami could impact the area, was issued for a wide swath of the Pacific including Wake and Johnston islands, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.

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An incorrect statement issued by the center at 5:07 p.m. prompted some media outlets to say that a tsunami watch was also in effect for Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. However, that was corrected in a bulletin released nine minutes later.

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The Solomon Islands have been rocked by seismic activity for more than a week, having been hit by at least 43 earthquakes of magnitude 4.6 or greater since Jan. 27.

As of 4:30 p.m. Hawaii time, that included eight aftershocks today in the Santa Cruz Islands ranging in magnitude from 5.2 to 6.6.

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Solomons in April 2007 generated a tsunami that killed at least 52 people in the area of the archipeligo.

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***Updated at 5:38 p.m. with information on the false Hawaii watch and at 5:15 p.m. with information on wave size in the Solomons.***

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