Jakarta—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 center saying a tsunami was not expected.
The quake hit 140 kilometers (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 center said a “destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.”
Immediately after the tremor struck, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said there is no tsunami threat to the country.
The Indonesian meteorological and climatology agency, however, warned people to stay clear of beaches as a precaution.
The quake was felt strongly in the city of Ternate at 1:17 a.m. 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 Dec 26, 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck Aceh province, causing a tsunami and killing more than 170,000 in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency said in a message on its Twitter account it had lifted a tsunami alert after the powerful earthquake struck near the Moluccas islands on Thursday.
The quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and struck 139 km (86 miles) northwest of the city of Ternate at a depth of 45 km., according to the US Geological Survey. Earlier, the agency put the magnitude at 7.4.
The quake was also felt strongly on the island of Sulawesi, to the west of the epicenter.