Tsunami warning issued after 7.0-magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia

Authorities warn of possible aftershocks and dangerous waves at sea

A building damaged in an earthquake in West Java, last year. Another quake has struck Indonesia. AP
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An offshore earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck near eastern Indonesia's Maluku islands on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported, triggering a tsunami warning.

The epicentre of the tremor was located 150 kilometres north-west of the eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera, at a depth of 48 kilometres.

“Hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre,” the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said in its warning after the quake.

The quake occurred around 1pm local time, and was revised down from an initial magnitude of 7.2 reported by the USGS.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency warned of possible aftershocks.

The country experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

On November 21, a 5.6-magnitude quake hit West Java province on Indonesia's main island of Java, killing 602 people.

Most of the victims were killed when buildings collapsed or in landslides caused by the quake.

A major earthquake off Sumatra on December 26, 2004, set off an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people as far away as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

That powerful 9.1-magnitude quake triggered 30-metre waves that hit the shore of Banda Aceh on Sumatra.

Updated: January 18, 2023, 7:30 AM