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Earthquakes Strike Off Solomon Islands, California

  • VOA News

FILE - Australian helicopter flies low across the Weathercoast of the Solomon Islands.

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of the Solomon Islands early Friday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties and a tsunami warning for a wide swath of the South Pacific was later lifted.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a tsunami warning for small islands in the Pacific, including Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Kosrae.

Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office director Loti Yates said he received reports of collapsed buildings on Malaita, an island near the epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey downgraded the quake, which struck at 1738 GMT Thursday, to magnitude 7.8 from an original reading of 8.0. It put the depth at around 40 kilometers.

An earthquake also struck Thursday off the coast of northern California. The 6.5 magnitude temblor hit in the Pacific Ocean about 400 kilometers northwest of San Francisco.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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