A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Flores Island in Indonesia, prompting local authorities to issue a tsunami warning for parts of the world’s largest island country.
The Indonesian Agency for Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics (BMKG) issued an early tsunami alert for the islands of Flores and Lembata, with communities being advised to “stay away from beaches and river banks” shortly after the quake was reported around 10:20 local time (03:20 GMT) on Tuesday.
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake has struck in the Flores Sea, Indonesia at a depth near 20 KM. A tsunami warning is in effect for parts eastern Indonesia. Waves up to 3.0 meters are possible. https://t.co/neUIC7gnDE
— Kalain Hosein (@KalainH) December 14, 2021
Kiriman suasana gempa dari teman di rumah sakit Bantaeng Sulawesi Selatan. Pasien, petugas, dan pengunjung berlarian pic.twitter.com/001usjhqWA
— Agung Prasetyo (@agungpharm) December 14, 2021
BMKG initially reported the quake as a 7.5-magnitutude tremor, while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) put its magnitude at 7.6 and later downgraded it to 7.3 on the Richster scale.
The US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning System – which recorded the earthquake as a 7.6 – warned that hazardous tsunami waves were “possible for coasts located within 1000km of the earthquake epicenter.” It added, however, that “no areas covered by this message appear to be immediately threatened.”
The quake rattled the area some 112 kilometers (70 miles) north of the town of Maumere at a depth of 18.5 kilometres (11 miles). Maumere is the second-largest town on Flores Island and is home to some 85,000 people.
The quake was immediately followed by several strong aftershocks.
— Tamara (@TodayorTamara) December 14, 2021
While the shaking reportedly caused some of the residents to flee their homes, there have been no reports of casualties or damage, Reuters reported, citing Alfons Hada Betan, head of East Flores Disaster Mitigation agency.
Located along the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ – which is where several tectonic plates meet, resulting in the majority of the world’s volcanoes and earthquakes – Indonesia is no stranger to deadly tsunamis.
In December 1992, a severe 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Flores Island, resulting in a tsunami and around 2,500 deaths.