MANADO, Indonesia - A powerful earthquake in northeastern Indonesia on
Tuesday caused panicked residents to flee shaking buildings on islands in the
Maluku Sea and briefly triggered a tsunami warning, officials said.
The 6.5-magnitude temblor struck 210 kilometers (130 miles) from Ternate, the
capital of Maluku island, and 375 kilometers (233 miles) from Manado, the
northernmost city on Sulawesi island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
"We called local authorities in Ternate and coastal areas to warn them of a
potential tsunami," said Fauzi, an Indonesian seismologist who goes by only one
name, adding that it turned out to be a false alarm.
One hour after the quake struck, there were no signs of seismically triggered
It was not immediately clear if the temblor, which was centered at a depth of
around 30 kilometers (20 miles), caused any injuries, and damage appeared to be
largely limited to cracks in buildings.
Frightened residents fled their homes and at least one hotel in Ternate was
"It was very strong, my house was shaking for 40 seconds," said George
Rajaloa. "People started running into the streets, some heading to high ground."
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 people _ 131,000 of them
in Indonesia's Aceh province alone. A tsunami off Java island last year killed
Tuesday's tremor came less than a month after a magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit
in roughly the same spot, killing at least three people.