The 8.1 M earthquake occurred at 20:49 GMT on Sunday April 1 (7:40 AM April 2 local time), followed by a tsunami up to 30 feet high near the epicenter. Several villages were destroyed by the tsunami on the islands nearest the epicenter. At least 30 people were killed and thousands left homeless. However, the news getting out of the area is very sparse. For days the story, if any, has been that several villages have been damaged to an indeterminate degree.
Earthquakes over 8.0 Magnitude are classified as Great Earthquakes and are capable of wide scale devastation in a heavily populated area. They occur worldwide once every year or two. The Solomon Islands have only 500,000 people spread out on small islands in the South Pacific. The quake was the result of the subduction of the Australian Plate, and some smaller plates, under the Pacific Plate.
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