4/1/2007 Solomon Islands Earthquake and Tsunami

Updated 4/4/2007

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.

(See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes.

The US Geological Survey page on this quake

See also the following news stories: