Strong earthquake strikes off eastern Indonesia, causing panicNovember 14th, 2011 - 4:40 pm ICT by BNO News
LABUHA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck the Molucca Sea in eastern Indonesia on early Monday afternoon, seismologists said, causing panic but no damage or casualties.
The 6.4-magnitude earthquake at 1.05 p.m. local time (0405 GMT) was centered about 69 kilometers (42 miles) southwest of Labuha, a small port town on the island of Pulau Bacan in North Maluku province. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to Indonesia’s seismological agency (BMKG).
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale, estimated that more than 45,000 people on nearby islands may have felt moderate shaking. Several hundred people may have felt strong shaking.
There were no reports of damage or casualties from the region, although officials reported that many people near the epicenter fled to higher ground in fear of a tsunami. However, neither BMKG nor the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning.
Indonesia is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.
On December 26, 2004, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded struck off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami, striking scores of countries in the region. In all, at least 227,898 people were killed.
Most recently, on October 25, 2010, a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck just off the Mentawai Islands off the western coast of Sumatra. As a result, a wall of water killed at least 435 people on the islands and impacted more than 20 villages.
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