6.3 earthquake hits Santa Cruz Islands

No tsunami alerts are issued

Screenshot of Santa Cruz Islands from Google Maps

MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – A magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocked Santa Cruz Islands in the Pacific Ocean Saturday, February 2, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported. 

The epicenter of the 19 km-deep tremor, which occurred at  6:16 a.m. (9:16 a.m. — Santa Cruz Islands time), was 388 km from Kira Kira, Solomon Islands.

USGS’s initial bulletin recorded the earthquake as magnitude 6.7 and 34 km deep. Meanwhile, Geoscience Australia measured the tremor at magnitude 6.6. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami alert after the earthquake.

Geoscience Australia seismologist Jonathan Bathgate said the latest tremors follow two 6.1-magnitude quakes and one 6.4-magnitude in the same area over the past few days.

“There’s been four quakes over 6 [magnitude] in the last three days in that area. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that there’s anything bigger to come. There could be some more to come or there could be nothing. We just don’t know,” Bathgate said. 

The Santa Cruz Islands is part of the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands, which is located in the “Pacific Ring of Fire” — an area around the Pacific Ocean that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In 2007, a tsunami following an 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless. – Rappler.com/with reports from Agence France Presse and Angela Casauay

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