A strong 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of North Maluku province in eastern Indonesia early Friday, seismologists said, with the US tsunami warning centre saying a tsunami was not expected. The quake hit 140 kilometres (87 miles) northwest of the coastal town of Ternate at a depth of 45 km, according to the US Geological Survey.
The US tsunami warning centre said a “destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.” The Indonesian meterological and climatology agency, however, warned people to stay clear of beaches as a precaution.
The quake was felt strongly in Ternate at 1:17 am local time (1617 GMT), sending sleeping residents fleeing their houses.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
Last September, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200, with 1,000 more declared missing.
On December 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck Aceh province, causing a tsunami and killing more than 170,000 in Indonesia.