A powerful earthquake struck off the northwest of Indonesia’s Maluku Islands on Thursday, causing panic in islanders who fled to higher grounds.
Indonesian authorities issued a Tsunami alert after the tremors were felt with high intensity by islanders on Sulawesi, west of the epicentre. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake measured 7.1 and struck 139 km northwest of the city of Ternate at a depth of 45 km. Initially, the magnitude of the earthquake was placed at 7.4 by the agency.
Indha Lengkong, a resident of Bitung in North Sulawesi said, said people in her neighbourhood had initially panicked.
“The house was visibly shaking.” “The quake was very strong and lasted for a while. We can still feel tremors but weaker.” She added.
An official from Indonesia’s geophysics agency Rahmat Triyono, told Kompas TV, “Most likely it (a tsunami) won't hit the land, but we still need to be on alert.” He also said that there have been no reports of damage so far.
A Twitter user who is from Tondano in North Sulawesi tweeted, “I live in manado and the earth was literally shaking so hard. the earthquake was 156km away. and its almost 1am and i was sleeping.”
I live in manado and the earth was literally shaking so hard. the earthquake was 156km away. and its almost 1am and i was sleeping.— Love Taee🐯💜 (@inritaehyungie_) November 14, 2019
Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at Imperial College London, said: “Fortunately, it has occurred offshore and at a reasonably deep depth so the risk of damage from shaking and tsunami is low.”