6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia: USGS

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s remote Maluku islands Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The strong quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 31 kilometers (20 miles), about 127 kilometres southwest of the city of Ternate. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

Indonesia experiences frequent quakes due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

In 2004, a devastating tremor measuring 9.1 magnitude struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.

The Boxing Day catastrophe was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, and lifted the ocean floor in some places by 15 metres.

In 2018, a powerful quake shook the island of Lombok and several more tremors followed over the next couple of weeks, killing more than 550 people on the holiday island and neighboring Sumbawa.

Later that year, a 7.5 magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

© Agence France-Presse