World News

Magnitude 7.1 quake hits Solomon Islands: USGS

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A major quake of magnitude 7.1 struck the Solomon Islands on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, but there no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

USGS said the quake’s epicenter was 32.2 miles deep, 60 miles southwest of the Solomon Islands’ Kira Kira in the Pacific Ocean. It hit at 8:40 p.m. (5:40 a.m. ET).

Officials at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, contacted by telephone from Sydney, Australia, said they had not heard of any deaths or damage but that some residents on a nearby island had fled to high land fearing a tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.5, could “generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the earthquake epicenter.”

A magnitude 7.1 quake can cause widespread, heavy damage.

(Reporting by Sydney newsroom and Sandra Maler in Washington)

Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan