February 20, 2007 / 8:46 AM / 12 years ago

Tsunami warning after Indonesia hit by strong quake

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia issued a tsunami warning on Tuesday after a strong earthquake struck off the Moluccas islands in the country’s east, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The magnitude 6.6 quake occurred at 3.04 pm (0804 GMT) with an epicenter 45 km (28 miles) southwest of Labuha in North Maluku province, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said in a telephone text message.

It had the potential to cause a tsunami, it added. The U.S. Geological Survey initially put the earthquake strength at 6.9 magnitude, but then revised that to 6.5. It put the depth at 31 km in a bulletin on its Web site.

“We are trying to get information from the region. If after one hour there’s no tsunami, we can say it’s safe. So far there’s no report of damage from Labuha,” Fauzi, an official at the meteorology agency’s earthquake center, told Reuters.

The center’s chief, Suharjono, also said no damage or casualties had been reported immediately after the quake, although it had been felt by people in the area.

Indonesia sits atop the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the collision of continental plates brings frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

A quake in the Indian Ocean in December 2004 and the tsunami it caused left some 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

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