18 Jul 2015

Little damage reported after 6.9 quake in Solomon Islands

4:16 pm on 18 July 2015

Police in the Solomon Islands province of Temotu are checking remote villages and islands after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake this afternoon.

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the Santa Cruz islands in Solomon Islands

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the Santa Cruz islands. Photo: US Geological Survey

The quake struck near the Santa Cruz islands at a depth of 33 kilometres just before 1:30 local time.

A spokesperson for the police in the provincial capital Lata, 75 kilometres west of the epicentre, says the violent shaking lasted about two minutes.

He says crowds gathered at a football tournament in town ran to seek shelter on a nearby plateau after a tsunami warning was issued.

That warning was later cancelled, but the policeman says the sea rose by about 20 centimetres and changed colour from blue to green.

The spokesperson says there is no significant damage in Lata, but police are yet to hear from more remote and less-developed parts of the province.

The province was hit by a magnitude eight earthquake in February 2013, which triggered a tsunami that smashed through seaside villages, killing at least 10 people and destroying houses, crops and infrastructure.