Magnitude 6.3 quake hits eastern Indonesia

The quake was recorded at a depth of about 39km.
The quake was recorded at a depth of about 39km.PHOTO: USGS

AMBON, INDONESIA (AFP) - A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off eastern Indonesia late Monday (Feb 26), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The quake was measured at a depth of 11.9km with its epicentre in the Seram Sea around 194km north-west of Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, according to USGS.

“The earthquake does not have tsunami potential. I am still gathering more information regarding damages and casualties,” Mochammad Riyadi of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) told AFP.

Maluku is a large archipelagic province. The nearest major island is Buru, some 50km south of the epicentre.

“There’s no damage at our place and I don’t think there’s any damage out there because of the quake,” Hentihu, a resident of Namlea, a small town on Buru island, told AFP.

Residents of Ambon, a city with a population of 330,000, also told AFP they were little affected by the tremor.

Earlier on Monday, a major 7.5-magnitude quake rocked neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Both Indonesia and PNG sit on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismic activity hotspot.

At least three people were killed and hundreds of buildings were damaged following a 6.5-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia’s Java island in December.

An earthquake struck Indonesia’s western province of Aceh in December 2016, killing more than 100 people, injuring many more and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Aceh was one of the areas worst hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.

The wall of waves killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.