The quake took place at 7:39 am Solomon Islands time, causing major damage to the resort town of Gizo, in the New Georgia Islands archipelago.
The quakes were measured at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) at a distance of 345 kilometers (215 miles) west northwest of the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal.
The Solomon Islands Red Cross reports that around 2,000 people, or 10 percent of the population, in the provincial capital of Gizo, are now homeless, while some 500 houses may have been damaged or destroyed. Preliminary reports from other islands suggest similar or worse levels of damage.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu issued a tsunami warning for much of the Pacific, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. There have been reports of damage in Papua New Guinea to the west of the Solomons but no loss of life.
A tsunami watch was issued for New Zealand, the Philippines, American Samoa, Guam and Fiji.