Thursday, May 23, 2024

Massive 6.6 Magnitude Quake Jolts Eastern Indonesia, No Tsunami Threat

HomeTop NewsMassive 6.6 Magnitude Quake Jolts Eastern Indonesia, No Tsunami Threat

A massive 6.6 magnitude earthquake violently jolted the eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku early Tuesday, triggering panicked scenes across the region. But fortunately, there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage from the powerful offshore temblor that struck during the morning rush hour.

The strong quake hit at 9:48 am local time (0148 GMT), with its epicenter located 107 miles (172 km) northwest of Ternate, the provincial capital, at a depth of around 22 miles (35 km) under the Molucca Sea, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

While the shaking from the 6.6 magnitude quake was extremely intense and concerning given its size, it did not generate a tsunami thanks to its relatively deep offshore location, officials confirmed. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center gave the all-clear shortly after analyzing the seismic data.

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“There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the agency stated from its headquarters in Hawaii.

However, Indonesia’s meteorological agency (BMKG) warned North Maluku residents to brace for potential aftershocks over the coming days and weeks as the tectonic plates continued adjusting and settling under the sea floor.

“We felt the jolt pretty violently for about a minute. It was strong, and went on for a while,” said Ternate resident Indra Gunawan, describing the shaking as a terrifying experience like being rocked back and forth on a ship at rough sea.

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Dramatic amateur footage shared on social media showed crowds of people screaming and fleeing for higher ground fearing a tsunami, with rubble and plumes of dust filling the streets in some areas. But those initial panicked scenes gave way to a sigh of relief once the all-clear was issued, with no reports of significant damage emerging from the remote and sparsely populated region.

Still, the 6.6 magnitude quake served as yet another harsh reminder that Indonesia’s 17,000 islands are situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an active seismic hot spot where several tectonic plates grind and jostle. This makes Indonesia highly prone to frequent powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that periodically wreak havoc.

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In 2018, over 2,200 people were killed when a 7.5 magnitude earthquake spawned a deadly tsunami that swamped the coastal city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi. And the 2004 Indian Ocean magnitude 9.1 quake-tsunami remains seared into Indonesia’s psyche as one of the deadliest natural disasters on record with over 170,000 deaths in Aceh province alone.

While the residents of North Maluku breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday, the specter of the next “big one” always looms for those living along the Pacific Ring of Fire’s shakiest grounds.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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