Strong earthquake strikes Indonesia

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shakemap indicating quake strength. Star marks the epicenter.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) a strong magnitude 6.9 earthquake has struck Indonesia in the Molucca Sea approximately 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Ternate, Maluku Islands, Indonesia at a depth of 44.6 kilometers (27.7 miles).

The Japan Meteorological Agency reports the quake at a magnitude 7.0 with a depth of 50 km.

An unnamed official with the USGS says "there is a potential that a tsunami might develop, judging from the magnitude," but no tsunamis were reported.

"We have lifted the warning. After monitoring, there were no signs of tsunami," said the Indonesian head of the country's geology agency, Fauzi. Initially, Fauzi issued a tsunami warning saying "we have issued a warning that the quake could potentially trigger a tsunami."

There are no reports of injuries, deaths or damage. One resident in Ternate said that he "felt a strong tremor for almost a minute, people ran in panic from buildings. Children are crying and their mothers are screaming but there is no damage in my area."

Earlier the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had issued a tsunami bulletin stating that local high waves could be possible, but a widespread tsunami is "not expected based on historical earthquake data."