An offshore earthquake lifted the small Solomon island of Ranongga ten feet (three meters) out of the water, baring its surrounding coral reef.
Striking only about six miles (ten kilometers) beneath the seafloor, the quake occurred in a seismically volatile region where three of Earth's tectonic plates collide with the large Pacific plate at an average speed of about four inches (ten centimeters) a year.
Even so, the April 2, 2007, quake may have been the largest in the area in a hundred years.
Ranongga villagers say they have seen earthquake fissures 20 inches (50 centimeters) wide, which almost split the island in half, according to news reports.
One fisher who had explored the new underwater landscape of the island said he had seen a huge submerged chasm running parallel to the coast for at least 550 yards (500 meters).
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Photograph by William West/AFP/Getty Images