Deep 6.8-magnitude earthquake strikes off East Timor; no damage

August 30th, 2011 - 7:12 pm ICT by BNO News  

DILI, EAST TIMOR (BNO NEWS) — A strong but deep earthquake struck the waters off the Asian country of East Timor on late Tuesday afternoon, seismologists said, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake at 3.57 p.m. local time (0657 GMT) was centered about 272 kilometers (169 miles) north-northeast of Dili, the capital of East Timor on the northern coast of Timor island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It struck about 465 kilometers (289 miles) deep, making it a very deep earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS estimated some two million people may have felt very weak shaking during the earthquake, but there were no reports of damage or casualties. Most residents in the region reported feeling no earthquake.

The earthquake was also too deep to generate a tsunami. “A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin. “This earthquake is located too deep inside the Earth to generate a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”

East Timor is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

In May 1995, a strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the island of Timor, not far from the East Timor capitol of Dili. The earthquake and a resulting tsunami destroyed several homes in the capital, killing eleven people and injuring at least 19 others.

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