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Jakarta: A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked the eastern Indonesian province of Papua on Tuesday, US seismologists said, causing panicked people to run out of their homes.

No tsunami warning was issued after the quake, which struck inland, and Indonesia’s national disaster agency said there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The tremor hit at 6:41 am local time (0311 IST Tuesday), almost 250 kilometres (150 miles) west of the provincial capital Jayapura at a depth of 52 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. “The quake was felt very strongly for four seconds” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “Residents panicked and rushed out of their homes.”

He said there were no initial reports of damage but added the region around the epicentre, in Indonesia’s remote east, was difficult to reach, and data was still being collected. The Earthquake-Report monitoring website said the area has “steep mountain ranges and its vegetation is rainforest, which means that the chance of dangerous landslides is real”. Weak shaking was felt in Jayapura for a few seconds.

Both Indonesian authorities and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of any tsunami waves from the quake, which occurred beneath a jungle. Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.


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