Big quake in Pacific prompts tsunami warnings in islands

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake has struck near the Pacific's Solomon Islands, prompting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to warn that tsunami waves were possible in several South Pacific islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there's no threat of tsunami waves for Hawaii. The state had been placed under a tsunami watch Thursday after an earthquake in the Solomon Islands.

The quake was centered about 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The epicenter was relatively deep at 48 kilometers (30 miles) below the surface. Deeper quakes generally cause less damage on the ground.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cautioned that tsunami waves were possible in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and in Kosrae, in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Solomon Islands are located in the Pacific's geologically active "Ring of Fire."