Solomon Islands earthquake: Tsunami warning lifted after magnitude 7.8 quake strikes Pacific Ocean

No immediate reports of casualties or severe damage after major earthquake off island's coast

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The Independent Online

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands, sparking a warning for "hazardous tsunami waves" that was later lifted.

The quake hit shortly after 4.38am local time on Friday (5.30pm GMT) and was followed by four aftershocks, with the epicentre recorded off the coast of Makira island at a depth of 30 miles (48.7km).

Phone lines were down and electricity cuts reported in some areas but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for "hazardous tsunami waves" along some coasts of the Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Kosrae but lifted it two hours later.

Officials said residents in affected areas should remain alert but that fluctuations of only 30cm above and below sea level were expected.

"Based on all available date the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed," a statement said.

Australian authorities also said there was no risk to its coastlines, while the New Zealand Civil Defence office said it was evaluating the situation.

The Earthquake Track website intitially detected a strength of magnitude eight but the US Geological Society later revised the figure to 7.8.

The Solomon Islands are located in the Pacific's geologically active "Ring of Fire", which contains more than 400 volcanoes and fault lines generating frequent quakes.