Powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake strikes off Solomon Islands

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge travel in a traditional canoe during a visit to Tuvanipupu Island on their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East on September 17, 2012 in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands.

A tsunami warning has been issued for the South Pacific after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake, which struck at a depth of 3.6 miles, could trigger a “destructive tsunami,” the BBC reported.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated," the Hawaii-based Pacific center said.

"It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts."

The quake hit near the Santa Cruz islands, part of the Solomon Islands nation, the US Geological Survey said on its website. 

The BBC reported that a wave measuring three feet had struck Lata Wharf in the Santa Cruz islands.

There are fears it may have destroyed some villages, the Agence France-Presse reported.

"The information we are getting is that some villages west and south of Lata along the coast have been destroyed, although we cannot confirm this yet," the director at Lata Hospital on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende, told AFP.

According to AFP, the region has been hit by a "series of strong tremors" in recent days.

Yahoo!7 News reported the tsunami warning applies to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna.

"A tsunami watch has been issued for Australia and New Zealand, and all the way to Indonesia," Yahoo!7 reported.

According to Reuters, the quake was originally thought to measure 6.3 magnitude.