Two Quakes hit eastern Indonesia

In Asia, Earthquakes & Tsunamis, News Headlines

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Two powerful earthquakes hit waters off eastern Indonesia in rapid succession Thursday, prompting officials to briefly trigger a tsunami warning.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 7.2 magnitude quake off Papua province, centered just 7 miles (12 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor, struck less than a minute after a 6.6 temblor in the same location.

Several strong aftershocks followed.

The quakes rocked the nearby islands of Tual and Dodo at around 2 a.m. local time as people were sleeping, police said, adding there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The region on Indonesia’s easternmost edge is remote and sparsely populated.

Located 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) from the capital, Jakarta, the epicenter was closer to the northern Australian city of Darwin, which sits some 560 miles (900 kilometers) to the south.

The Indonesian meteorological and geophysics agency issued a tsunami warning, but lifted it 90 minutes later after the threat had passed, said Fauzi, who heads the agency.

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

A giant quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia’s westernmost province of Aceh.

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