Magnitude 7 quake strikes Solomon Islands, no tsunami expected

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LONDON (Reuters) -- A magnitude 7.0 quake struck the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific early on Thursday, local time, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami was expected.

The Solomon Island's national disaster office in the capital Honiara activated its emergency operation center but had yet to receive any damage reports from communities close to the epicenter, a spokesman said.

"The epicenter is approximately 220km (137 miles) to the west of Honiara and communication with communities within that area will be a challenge so it will take time before we can ascertain the extent of damage if there is any," he said.

The Solomon Islands straddle the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experience a large number of strong earthquakes each year.

In the town of Gizo, around 150 km (93 miles) east of the epicenter, residents reported a long tremor but no damage.

"It lasted for 5 minutes, less than 5 minutes but there is no damage. Everything is fine. There is no tsunami threat at this point," a representative of the Gizo Hotel told Reuters by phone.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no tsunami was expected.

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