JAKARTA, Indonesia - A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Sunday about 30 miles
under the Molucca Sea in northeastern Indonesia, the US Geological Survey said.
epicenter of the major quake was about 80 miles from the city of Ternate, in
north eastern Indonesia, it said. It had a depth of more than six miles below
the ocean floor.
No tsunami warning was issued.
An official with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii told The
Associated Press that a basin-wide tsunami - one that travels a great distance
or across an ocean - isn't expected, though a tsunami near the earthquake's site
is "always possible."
"Given the size of the earthquake, we think a basin-wide tsunami isn't
likely, though a local tsunami could be possible," said Brian Shiro, a
geophysicist at the tsunami center.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due
to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and
fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island
and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 lives - 131,000 people in
Indonesia's Aceh province alone.
"You could feel shaking up and down and to
the left and right," a Reuters eyewitness said.
"People panicked and ran out of their homes. They are still outside their
homes," he said about 30 minutes after the quake struck in the Molucca Sea about
165 km (100 miles) to the east of Manado near the northern tip of Sulawesi.
There were no immediate reports of casualties but local television said some
buildings were cracked. Manado, a city of some 400,000 people, is 2,200 km
(1,365 miles) northeast of Jakarta.
The U.S. Geological Survey Web site put the quake's magnitude at 7.3 while
Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency gave its strength as 6.5 on the
Richter scale and said it could pose a tsunami risk, according to a message from
the agency received by Reuters.
The USGS said the quake had occurred at 7:27 p.m. (1127 GMT). It originally
reported the magnitude at 7.2.