Solomon Islands was slammed with yet another earthquake off the coast Sunday, rocking the archipelago of fewer than 600,000 people just hours after an earlier major quake — and dealing another blow to the tiny island country still reeling from massive flooding from a cyclone earlier in April.
The second earthquake, which hit late Sunday night, was measured at 7.5 on the Richter scale by the United States Geological Survey, though the initial reading was 7.7. The Sunday night quake was centered about 70 miles south of Kira Kira, an island in the Solomon Islands acrhipelago. The epicenter of the nighttime quake was pinpointed just a few miles from the Sunday morning earthquake, and about 18 miles below sea level.
Second Sunday Quake Stirs New Tsunami Fears
The second Solomon Islands earthquake of the day triggered fresh tsunami warnings for Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
In Vanuatu, the meteorological service there put out its own urgent tsunami warning, predicting that waves could hit that island nation at around 12:45 am Monday — 9:45 am Sunday on the U.S. East Coast. But at least an hour after that time, no reports of damage had been issued.
“An earthquake of this size has the potential to cause destructive Tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the Vanuatu Meteorological Service said in a tsunami warning posted on its internet site early Monday morning. “People throughout Torba, Sanma, Penama and Malampa provinces who have moved to higher grounds are to remain there until the all clear is given.”
Earthquake Felt 200 Miles Away In Solomon Islands Capital
In the Solomon Islands, reports from Kira Kira, the island nearest both the Sunday morning and nighttime earthquake, indicated that no tsunami was recorded there — at least not after the 7.6 morning earthquake — but heavy waves pounded the shoreline causing local aid groups there to move to higher ground.
The quake was also felt for about 30 seconds in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara, about 200 miles from the earthquake epicenter, according to witness reports.
No Tsumani Threat Posed To United States
Neither Solomon Islands earthquake was believed to pose any tsunami threat to the west coast of the United States, Hawaii or Alaska, United States officials said.
Bit 2014 has already been a disastrous year for the Solomon Islands as April 3 flash flooding from Tropical Cyclone Ita left between 9,000 and 10,000 people without homes.