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Pacific earthquake hits Solomon Islands: Tsunami warning issued

Pacific earthquake, centered near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, prompted a tsunami warning for other South Pacific islands and a tsunami watch in Fuji and Australia.

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An 8.0 earthquake struck here at 5:23pm Pacific time Tuesday evening, which was 12:23pm local time. The 8.0 quake triggered tsunami warnings and watches in the South Pacific.

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A powerful earthquake in the South Pacific generated a tsunami Wednesday that prompting warnings to several island nations.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says sea level readings indicate a tsunami formed after the 8.0 earthquake near the Solomon Islands and that it may be destructive near the epicenter. More distant coasts may be threatened.

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The quake occurred near Lata in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a 3-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.

"There was no immediate report of damages or any accidents," said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. "We've been hoping that reports will come in from the responsible authorities ... very soon."

The tsunami warning is in effect for the Solomons, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna. A tsunami watch is in effect for American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Indonesia.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometers (50 miles) west of Lata, at a depth of 5.8 kilometers (3.6 miles).