A major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck the Solomon Islands today, the US Geological Survey has reported.

It said the quake's epicentre was 52km deep, 97km southwest of Kira Kira on Makira Island in the Pacific Ocean.

It hit at 8.40pm (9.40am Irish time).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake, initially reported as being a magnitude 7.5, could ‘generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre.’

However, no tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of casualties or damage.

The Solomon Islands lie northeast of Australia and comprise 992 islands, of which 147 are inhabited.

The six biggest islands are Choiseul, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal - where the state capital Honiara is located - Malaita and Makira.

Kira Kira is the provincial capital of Makira, formerly known as San Cristobal.