“It’s a huge one that shocked everyone,” Herming said.
“We have tables and desks, books and everything scattered everywhere because of the earthquake, but there is no major damage to structures or buildings,” he said.
Herming said the Solomon Islands, home to about 700,000 people, has no large high-rises that could be vulnerable to an earthquake. He said there was some panic in the city and traffic congestion as everyone tried to drive to higher ground.
Freelance journalist Charley Piringi said he was outside schools on the outskirts of Honiara when the earthquake sent children fleeing.
“The earthquake shook the place to its foundations,” he said. “It was a huge one. We were all shocked and everyone is running everywhere.”
The quake’s epicenter was in the ocean about 56 kilometers (35 miles) southwest of Honiara at a depth of 13 kilometers (8 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of potentially dangerous waves for the region, but later lowered a tsunami warning when the threat passed.
The Solomon Islands lie on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc along the edge of the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.