Tsunami warning issued in South Pacific

A powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Monday morning, prompting a tsunami warning for other South Pacific states and a lower-level caution for Hawaii. The US Geological Center said the earthquake struck about 10 kilometers (6 miles) beneath the sea floor about 350 kilometers (215 miles) northwest of the Solomons capital of Honiara at 7:39 a.m. (20:39 GMT Sunday). The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said an earthquake of that strength could cause a destructive tsunami and issued a warning for the Solomon Islands and neighboring Papua New Guinea. It ordered a lower-level "tsunami watch" for other places, including most South Pacific countries. The center said it was monitoring the situation and that Hawaii's status could be elevated to warning or watch.