Another major quake off Indonesia


– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Strong earthquake strikes off eastern Indonesia, causing panic
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A strong earthquake struck the Molucca Sea in eastern Indonesia yesterday afternoon, causing panic but no damage or casualties.

The 6.4-magnitude quake at 1.05pm local time (11:05am Phuket time) was centered about 69 kilometers (42 miles) southwest of Labuha, a small port town on the island of Pulau Bacan in North Maluku province. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to Indonesia’s seismological agency (BMKG).

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale, estimated that more than 45,000 people on nearby islands may have felt moderate shaking. Several hundred people may have felt strong shaking.

There were no reports of damage or casualties from the region, although officials reported that many people near the epicenter fled to higher ground in fear of a tsunami. However, neither BMKG nor the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning.

On December 26, 2004, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded struck off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami, striking scores of countries in the region. In all, at least 227,898 people were killed, an estimated 5,000 of them in Thailand, of which most were in greater Phuket and Khao Lak .

Most recently, on October 25, 2010, a powerful 7.7-magnitude quake struck just off the Mentawai Islands off the western coast of Sumatra. As a result, a wall of water killed at least 435 people on the islands and impacted more than 20 villages.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

World News

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