A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.7 has struck off the Solomon Islands, prompting a tsunami alert for the region.
The earthquake, which struck at 17:38 UTC on Thursday, was centred about 68 kilometres (42 miles) southwest of Kirakira in the Solomon Islands, or 211 kilometres (127 miles) southeast of Honiara. It struck at a shallow depth of just 48 kilometres, Xinhua reported.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) puts the preliminary magnitude of the earthquake at 7.7, down from an initial estimate of 8.0.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued a tsunami alert for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia and Tuvalu and Kosrae.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said in a bulletin, "Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicentre."