JAKARTA (AP): A powerful undersea earthquake and a series of aftershocks rattled Maluku province Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, causing panicked residents to flee their homes.
The tremor with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0struck in the Maluku Sea, 215 kilometers from Ternate, the main city on Maluku Island and 2,355 kilometers from the capital, Jakarta.
Hendrik Leopatty, an official with the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG), said the quake lasted around six seconds. It was followed by at least one aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6, the USGS said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The local meteorological and geological agency said a tsunami was not expected
The quake was widely felt in the remote area made up of scattered islands, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, Suhardjono, an official at the agency, said by telephone Tuesday.
The epicenter of the quake, which measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, was 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Labuha and was followed by a slight weaker aftershock, another official said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said in a bulletin sent by e-mail that the first quake was at a depth of 10 km and struck at 0936 GMT, followed by an aftershock six minutes later. It put the magnitude of the first quake at 6.0 and the aftershock at 5.6.
Indonesia suffers frequent earthquakes given its location in a highly active seismic zone.
In some remote areas, it takes a long time to assess damage given patchy communications in the sprawling archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.
Copyright 2007 Reuters.