Strong quakes hit eastern Indonesia, northwest Australia

A major 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the remote Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia Sunday, sending panicked residents running into the streets but no tsunami warning was issued.
The quake struck about 165 kilometers south-southwest of the town of Ternate in North Maluku province at 6:28 pm local time, at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"The earthquake was quite strong, sending residents to flee outside, they are panicking and many are now waiting on the roadside," local disaster mitigation official Mansur, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.
Officials were assessing the situation but there were no immediate reports of casualties, Mansur said.
The province was also hit by a 6.9-magnitude tremor last week but no extensive damage was reported.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people with another thousand declared missing.
M6.6 quake strikes off northwest Australia
A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off northwest Australia Sunday, shaking buildings over a wide area but causing no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The shallow quake hit early Sunday afternoon 10 kilometers under the Indian Ocean 203 kilometers west of the West Australian beach resort of Broome, the U.S. Geological Survey said. No tsunami alert was issued.
Sergeant Neil Gordon of the Broome police department said the quake rattled the city for more than a minute.
"The building here was shaking for about a minute and a half ... a steady shaking for that period of time," he told AFP by telephone.
He added that there had been "no reports of any injuries or any damage throughout the district," following the tremor.
The national broadcaster ABC said there were some reports of minor damage from the quake, and no injuries.
Australian media said the tremor was felt across a long stretch of the northwestern coast of Australia, from the West Australian capital of Perth and the mining centers of Karatha and Port Hedland to the south and as far as Darwin to the north.

© 2019 AFP
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