12 Apr 2010

6.8 magnitude quake near Solomon Islands

11:55 am on 12 April 2010

A large earthquake has hit near Solomon Islands, but there are no reports of injuries or major damage.

The earthquake, of magnitude 6.8, struck at 8.40pm on Sunday, about 100 kilometres south-west of Kira Kira at a depth of about 60 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

New Zealand's High Commissioner in Solomon Islands, Mark Ramsden, says he felt the quake in the capital, Honiara, as a long and gentle shaking.

The quake had initially been measured at magnitude 7.1 but was later revised down.

The country's National Disaster Management Office says it has not heard of any damage or casualties from the quake.

However a member of New Zealand's Red Cross emergency response unit, Steve Davies, who is in Honiara, says communications remain difficult and it could take some time to get an accurate assessment of the quake's aftermath.

In 2007, a magnitude 8 earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed 50 people in the west of the country.

About 1000 people were left homeless by another earthquake-generated tsunami in January this year.

No tsunami warning was issued following the latest quake.