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Second strong quake hits off Solomon Islands: USGS
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Dec 9, 2016

Quake shakes Croatia coast causing panic
Zagreb (AFP) Dec 9, 2016 - A moderate 4.6-magnitude earthquake caused panic but only minor damage after hitting Croatia's central Adriatic coast in the region of Split, officials said on Friday.

The quake hit a few minutes before 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), with the epicentre underwater some eight kilometers (five miles) west of Split, the country's seismological service said.

It was felt along the central coast and on nearby islands.

No one was injured in the quake while only minor damage, such as cracked walls or broken windows, was reported, Split mayor Ivo Baldasar said.

"Split had no major tremors in its history so we hope it will remain so," Baldasar told reporters.

Many panicked residents of Croatia's second largest town rushed into the streets or squares. Some parts of the town were briefly without power while schools and some public institutions were closed in the afternoon.

"The tremor was felt rather strongly, in our apartment all things fell from the shelves," one Split resident told online portal Index.

The most recent devastating quake in the Balkans hit the Macedonian capital Skopje in 1963. It killed around a thousand people.

A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday off the Solomon Islands, one day after a major quake, raising the threat of hazardous tsunami waves, officials said.

However, police in the nearest centre to the off-shore tremor said there were no reports of fresh damage and residents did not flee their homes as they had the previous day.

The epicentre of the latest quake, which hit at 6:10 am (1910 GMT Friday), was located 90 kilometres (55 miles) west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomons, at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had said there was no tsunami threat from the quake but later forecasted "hazardous tsunami waves" 1-3 metres (3-10 feet) above tide level along some coasts of the Solomons.

It warned of waves up to 0.3 metres along the coasts of Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

However, Donald Tehimae, the duty officer at the Kirakira police station, said there was no immediate sign the fresh tremor had any serious impact.

"Everything is okay," he said.

"Yesterday, everyone evacuated to the highlands but after the cancellation of the tsunami warning we all came back. This time we all stayed here."

USGS said there was low likelihood of casualties and damage from the quake.

Friday's major 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the archipelago, triggering severe shaking and a tsunami warning, but there were no reports of any serious damage.

The Solomon Islands are part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity known for frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions.

In 2007, an 8.0-magnitude quake in the Solomon Islands claimed 52 lives and left thousands homeless when it created a 10-metre tsunami.

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