A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake was felt for several minutes. The epicenter was north of the island of Flores in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, 112 km (69.59 miles) northwest of Larantuka, at a depth of 12 km. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre estimated the magnitude at 7.7. Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency reported the earthquake as a magnitude 7.4 and warned of “potential tsunami” for the areas of Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and Southeast and South Sulawesi. “Everyone ran out into the street,” witnesses declared. No significant damage or deaths were immediately reported.
A 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit Larantuka after the first quake. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii later lifted a regional tsunami alert. Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 270 million people, is on the Pacific „Ring of Fire”, with frequent frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions. On December 4, at least 48 people were killed and hundreds injured when the Mount Semeru volcano erupted on Java island. Among Indonesia’s string of deadly quakes was a devastating 2004 9.1-magnitude tremor that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.