Tsunami watch canceled after 7.7 quake off of Solomon Islands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A  tsunami warning was canceled Thursday after a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake rocked the Pacific's Solomon Islands, prompting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to warn that tsunami waves were possible before backing off the warning.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said the tsunami watch for Hawaii had been canceled Thursday morning as of 8:36 a.m. Hawaii time  following the 7.7. quake.

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. Later in the day, however, the National Weather Service said the tsunami advisories were canceled. As of 3 p.m. West Coast time, there were no current warnings, watches or advisories related to the earthquake in effect

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

The quake near the Solomon Islands came a few hours after Northern California residents reported a trembler.

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California on Thursday, jolting residents of the coastal town of Ferndale but bringing no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake hit at 6:50 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles west of Ferndale, the U.S. Geological Survey said. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement there was no threat of a tsunami.

Bonnie Brower, owner of the Ferndale Pie Company, says she was grabbing something from the fridge in the restaurant's kitchen when the quake happened. She did not see any damage, but felt a "big jolt."

"I just felt this very huge jerk and I didn't know what it was," she said.

Afterward, she said it felt like the ground was rolling, "like you were on a boat."

Dennis Gorton, who owns the Francis Creek Inn in Ferndale, said there was no damage and none of the guests panicked.

"It was just kind of a roller," he said. "Nothing was thrown off the shelves or anything like that."

In January 2010, a 6.5 magnitude quake in the Pacific caused about $34 million in property losses in and around the nearby city of Eureka, including partial damage to at least nine buildings.