JAKARTA, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Indonesia was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday off the Tanimbar Islands, prompting panicked residents in the area to flee their homes, although a tsunami warning was lifted after three hours and initial reports indicated limited damage.
The Tanimbar Islands are a group of about 30 islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia.
At least four aftershocks were reported after the powerful quake, which was also felt in parts of northern Australia.
Officials at Indonesia’s disaster agency said at least 15 homes and two school buildings were damaged, with one person injured after the tremor was felt strongly for 3-5 seconds.
The quake, measured locally as magnitude 7.5, struck at a depth of 130 km (80.78 miles) at 2:47 a.m. local time (1747 GMT Monday), the country’s geophysical agency BMKG said. The tsunami warning was canceled at 5:43 am
“Based on our monitoring of four tide gauges around the epicenter of the earthquake… there is no detected anomaly or significant changes in sea level,” BMKG chief Duikorita Karnavati told a news conference, advising people living near the coast to continue with activities .
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) recorded the earthquake’s magnitude as 7.6, after initially reporting a 7.7. The US Geological Survey also rated it a magnitude 7.6.
There were four aftershocks, with the strongest registering a magnitude of 5.5, the BMKG said.
Indonesia sits atop the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” making it one of the most seismically active regions in the world, experiencing frequent earthquakes.
With a magnitude of 5.6 earthquake which struck Indonesia’s most populous West Java province last November, toppling homes and killing more than 300 people.
Reporting by Ananda Teresa and Gayatri Suroyo in Jakarta and Akanksha Kushi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Mahler, Ed Davis and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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