ring of fire chad myers weather orig_00003221.jpg
ring of fire chad myers weather orig_00003221.jpg
Now playing
01:13
What is the 'Ring of Fire'?
nepal drone footage earthquake disaster relief orig_00011504.jpg
nepal drone footage earthquake disaster relief orig_00011504.jpg
Now playing
01:35
5 things you should know about earthquakes
earthquake early warning system orig mg_00002310.jpg
earthquake early warning system orig mg_00002310.jpg
Now playing
01:38
Why aren't earthquake warnings better?
orig 5 most powerful earthquakes on record npr_00002704.jpg
orig 5 most powerful earthquakes on record npr_00002704.jpg
Now playing
01:03
5 most powerful recorded earthquakes
weather 15 years of earthquakes jj nccorig_00004316.jpg
NOAA
weather 15 years of earthquakes jj nccorig_00004316.jpg
Now playing
00:47
See 15 years of earthquakes in 45 seconds
A resident sifts through debris past the rubble of a mosque in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi following the September 28 earthquake and tsunami.
ADEK BERRY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A resident sifts through debris past the rubble of a mosque in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi following the September 28 earthquake and tsunami.
Now playing
01:52
Search for survivors after tsunami continues
indonesia earthquake tsunami palu orig mg_00000711.jpg
Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency
indonesia earthquake tsunami palu orig mg_00000711.jpg
Now playing
01:06
Deadly tsunami hits Indonesian island of Sulawesi
honduras earthquake map 1.09.2018
CNN
honduras earthquake map 1.09.2018
Now playing
00:50
Strong earthquake prompts tsunami threat
Anuwat Kongko, a 28-year-old hiker from Thailand, was on top of Mount Rinjani when the earthquake hit.
 
"I reached the summit [Mont Rinjani] at around 6am along with some friends. Then I spent some time taking pictures with my camera with my friends until 6.47am, when the 1st earthquake occurred. It's just like the mountain was shaking. Everyone crouched on the floor and after it stopped I started to run away from there.
 
"After 10minutes an aftershock happened. Then, everyone was told to move out from there pretty quickly (you can see it in my video). Some of the pathway was destroyed by the earthquake."
 
Kongko said it took them 1 hour to get from the summit to the camping area, and 3 hours from the camping area to the village.
Anuwat Kongko
Anuwat Kongko, a 28-year-old hiker from Thailand, was on top of Mount Rinjani when the earthquake hit. "I reached the summit [Mont Rinjani] at around 6am along with some friends. Then I spent some time taking pictures with my camera with my friends until 6.47am, when the 1st earthquake occurred. It's just like the mountain was shaking. Everyone crouched on the floor and after it stopped I started to run away from there. "After 10minutes an aftershock happened. Then, everyone was told to move out from there pretty quickly (you can see it in my video). Some of the pathway was destroyed by the earthquake." Kongko said it took them 1 hour to get from the summit to the camping area, and 3 hours from the camping area to the village.
Now playing
01:23
Hundreds of hikers rescued after earthquake

Story highlights

Magnitude 7.8 quake hit off the South Pacific island chain Friday morning

Quake "one of the biggest and longest I have ever felt," resident of capital says

(CNN) —  

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit close to the Solomon Islands early Friday, forecasters said.

The earthquake hit less than 30 kilometers (19 miles) off the island of Makira – and 70 kilometers (43 miles) southwest of the island’s city of Kirakira – about 4:38 a.m. local time Friday (12:38 p.m. ET Thursday), the US Geological Survey said.

A number of tsunami warnings issued not long after the quake have been canceled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The largest observed wave, according to sea level gauges, was only 0.12 meters (5 inches) near Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal, some 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the epicenter

In an area where temblors are common, “the earthquake was one of the biggest and longest I have ever felt,” said Tali Hong, a resident of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. “I was born here in Honiara and lived here most of my life.

“I’m located in central Honiara, in one of the big urban areas. Just checked with my neighbors and surrounding area; there is not visible damage. However, we have no electricity at the moment.”

At the capital’s Heritage Park Hotel along the waterfront, awakened guests came out of their rooms to assess what was happening, said Richard Konari, a receptionist there. Things appeared to be returning to normal, he said.

“I have not seen any damage, but the feeling was like nothing I’ve experienced,” Konari said. “It was a more powerful feeling than I’ve felt in the past.”

A guest at the hotel, Sita Leota, told CNN she went to higher ground – a hill by the Parliament – after reading about the tsunami alert online.

“Up on (the hotel’s) third floor where I was, the whole building swayed – like riding a wave,” said Leota, who was visiting from Samoa.

Paul Chan Tung, of Samoa, sits Friday morning near Solomon Islands' Parliament in the capital, Honiara, after an earthquake off the nation's coasts. He and a friend went to the area near Parliament -- higher ground than the waterfront where they'd been staying -- because of a tsunami alert.
Sita Leota
Paul Chan Tung, of Samoa, sits Friday morning near Solomon Islands' Parliament in the capital, Honiara, after an earthquake off the nation's coasts. He and a friend went to the area near Parliament -- higher ground than the waterfront where they'd been staying -- because of a tsunami alert.

A receptionist at Honiara’s Pacific Casino Hotel said the shaking – about five minutes long – made it feel like she was floating on water. She said she isn’t aware of any damage to the building.

“We don’t experience quakes like this. It’s big,” she said.

After the major quake, a series of almost a dozen aftershocks, including one measured at magnitude 5.9, continued through the day.

Along the ‘Ring of Fire’

Makira, also known as San Cristobal, is one of the southernmost parts of the Solomon Islands, an archipelago located hundreds of kilometers northeast of Australia that is home to more than 500,000 people.

The Solomon Islands are along the “Ring of Fire,” a zone of seismic activity and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a vast area where about 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur, according to the USGS.

The ring, which actually is shaped more like a horseshoe, includes more than 400 underwater volcanoes and stretches 25,000 miles from New Zealand, past Japan, across the Bering Strait and down to the tip of South America.

CNN’s Aliza Kassim, Jennifer Hauser, Sarah Faidell and Mark LeBien contributed to this report.