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Huge Earthquake in South Pacific; Tsunami Feared

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A major, 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Solomon Islands Wednesday, triggering a tsunami with destructive potential for many coastal areas in the South Pacific.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 0112 UTC GMT near the Santa Cruz Islands in the Solomons at a depth of about 6 kilometers. The region has been affected by tremors during the past week.

A powerful aftershock of 6.4 magnitude was also recorded.

Initial reports from Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, had no details of damage.

A tsunami warning is in effect for the coming hours for all of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami watches were also placed as far afield as Hawaii, and New Zealand was also on guard. But early reports said no threat to Australia was seen.

The Solomon Islands are part of the "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific Ocean that is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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