An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 struck beneath the Pacific Ocean off the Solomon Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey said today on its Web site.

The earthquake hit 96 kilometers (60 miles) south of Lata, Santa Cruz Islands in the Solomon Islands at 12:05 p.m. local time, the Web site said. It occurred at a depth of 35 kilometers, it said.


Two subsequent aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.4 and 4.8 respectively were recorded in the region, Randy Baldwin, geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center said from Denver, Colorado.

"This is a very remote area,'' Baldwin said by phone. There have been no reports of the quake or aftershocks being felt, he said. "In subsequent days we might get some reports that somebody felt it somewhere.''

This is the third earthquake this year to strike beneath the Pacific Ocean in the Solomon Islands region. An 8.1 magnitude quake struck near the Solomon Islands in April, producing a tsunami that killed 54 people. A magnitude 6.7 quake hit the area last month.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter,'' the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on its Web site. A destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.

Quakes of magnitude 5 or greater can be destructive depending on their depth.