The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center posted and then canceled warnings and watches for several South Pacific islands after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake near the Santa Cruz islands.
The warning center said there is no threat to Hawaii of a destructive tsunami.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami of 3 feet was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands. No damage was immediately reported there or in Vanuatu, which also was covered by the warning.
Tsunami warnings and watches had been posted for several island nations around the epicenter including the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna.
But the warnings and watches were canceled at about 5:47 p.m. Hawaii time.
The earthquake struck at 3:12 p.m. Hawaii time. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 8.0-magnitude quake struck 50 miles west of Lata, in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 3.6 miles.
The quake occurred 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.
In Honiara, the warning prompted residents to flee for higher ground.
“People are still standing on the hills outside of Honiara just looking out over the water, trying to observe if there is a wave coming in,” said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. So far, he had received no reports that a wave had been observed in Honiara.
Atenia Tahu, who works for the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp. in Honiara, said most people were remaining calm.
“People around the coast and in the capital are ringing in and trying to get information from us and the National Disaster Office and are slowly moving up to higher ground,” Tahu said. “But panic? No, no, no, people are not panicking.”
An official at the disaster management office in neighboring Vanuatu said there were no reports of damage or injuries there.
More than 50 people were killed and thousands lost their homes in April 2007 when a magnitude 8.1 quake hit the western Solomon Islands, sending waves crashing into coastal villages.