6.5-magnitude quake off eastern Indonesia: USGS

A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off eastern Indonesia Sunday, the United States Geological Survey said, sending people running from their homes in panic but causing no damage or casualties.

The quake was also felt about 500 kilometres (300 miles) away in Darwin, Australia, where it set bookshelves shaking and moved furniture, the national AAP news agency reported.

The earthquake hit in waters near the remote Barat Daya islands in Maluku province at 8:52 pm (1152 GMT) at a depth of 132 kilometres, the USGS said. It was 411 kilometres (254 miles) east of Atambua and 425 kilometres south of Ambon.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.

Indonesia's national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said some people in southwest parts of Maluku province felt strong shaking for about 10 seconds and ran out of their homes.

But Suharjono, an official from the meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, added: "We have not received any reports of casualties or damage. I don't think there's going to be any significant impact."

And Amin Bin Tongke, chief search and rescue official for Maluku province, said: "The quake is in a really remote area, near a cluster of small islands away from cities or towns, with a very small population."

In Australia, the quake was felt in the Northern Territory and further east in Queensland, AAP reported.

"It went for quite a length of time, around 30 seconds... We had books moving," Steph Bond, senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, was quoted as saying.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.


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