Powerful Earthquake hits Solomon Islands - Tsunami Alert to Provinces fronting Pacific Ocean issued

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific early Wednesday at 09:12 am (Philippine Time), located at 10.9ºSouth/165.1ºEast with depth of 33 km, the PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE OF VOLCANOLOGY AND SEISMOLOGY (PHIVOLCS) reported, triggering a tsunami.

As reported by (CNN) A tsunami warning was issued for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. 

A tsunami watch was in effect for more places: the Marshall Islands, Howland and Baker, Pohnpei, Tokelau, Samoa, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia, Niue, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Wake Island, Chuuk, Jarvis Island, Guam, Northern Marianas, Palmyra Island, Yap, Johnston Island, Minamitorishima and Pelau.
The event seems to be localized to the region, Shiro said, and authorities are still waiting to see if they want to expand the alert.

The New Caledonia High Commission in the capital of Noumea ordered the immediate evacuation of coastal residents on the eastern coast of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.

The center of the quake was located some 360 miles east-southeast of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, the USGS said. It was reported to be 3.6 miles deep.

The main quake was preceded by a 6.3-magnitude quake in the region and was followed by several others, the largest of which had a magnitude of 6.6, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, PHIVOLCS recently issued a Tsunami Alert Level 1:

Tsunami Bulletin No.: 1
February 6, 2013
9:45 AM

Stand-by for Possible Evacuation

A strong distant earthquake occurred near Santa Cruz Island at 09:12 am (Philippine Time), located at 10.9ºSouth/165.1ºEast with depth of 33 km and a preliminary magnitude of 8.0. An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii will monitor sea level gauges nearest the region and report if any tsunami wave activity is observed.

PHIVOLCS Tsunami ALERT Level is 1. NO EVACUATION ORDER is in effect but communities along the east coast of the country (listed below) are advised to wait for further information and to prepare for possible evacuation.

Coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean of the following provinces should keep watch:
  • Batanes Group of Islands
  • Cagayan
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Isabela
  • Quezon
  • Aurora
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Catanduanes
  • Sorsogon
  • Northern Samar
  • Eastern Samar
  • Leyte
  • Southern Leyte
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur

PHIVOLCS is monitoring the sea level changes in the epicentral area and will relay significant observations to concerned authorities.

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