February 6, 2013 - 09:17 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A tsunami has hit the eastern Solomon Islands after a powerful earthquake that briefly triggered tsunami warnings for several Pacific nations, according to the BBC.
The magnitude 8.0 quake struck at 01:12 GMT near the Santa Cruz islands, part of the Solomon Islands nation, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
A tsunami measuring 0.9m (3ft) subsequently hit Lata in the far eastern Solomons.
A number of homes are reported to have been damaged in the area.
Lata is the main town on Nendo, also known as Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest island in the Santa Cruz island chain.
Reports suggested that the worst of the damage was expected on the western side of a point on the north-west of the island, with one report putting the height of two waves there at 1.5m.
"The wave went 500m inland, and at this stage I was told that three villages were basically damaged," Robert Iroga, press secretary to the Solomons prime minister, told the BBC, referring to three villages west of Lata. "Houses were brought down, and the authorities were unable to ascertain as to what the damage was like because they were also running up to the mountains, up to the hills."
Initial reports by the USGS said the quake had a shallow depth of 5.8km (3.6 miles) but it later revised the figure to 28.7km (17.8 miles).
Tsunami warnings were issued for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna islands, but later cancelled.
"No tsunami threat exists for other coastal areas although some may experience small sea level changes," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The Solomon Islands form part of the Ring Of Fire, a zone of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches encircling the Pacific basin.
The 8.0 earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, the largest measuring 6.6 magnitude.
The region has been experiencing a series of smaller quakes in recent days. In 2007 an 8.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.