December 4, 2022

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Magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocks western Indonesia: USGS

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A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook western Indonesia on Friday, the United States Geological Survey said, with no immediate damage reported.

The quake struck at a shallow depth just after 8:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) with an epicenter near Enggano, a small offshore island about 155 kilometers (95 miles) southwest of Sumatra’s Bengkulu, the USGS said.

A magnitude 5.4 aftershock hit the same area at 21:07 (1407 GMT), USGS said.

“We checked with the authorities on the island of Enggano, which is closest to the epicenter, and they reported that the earthquake was felt faintly there. So far there have been no reports of damage or casualties, but we are still conducting further investigations,” national disaster spokesman Abdul Muhari told AFP.

Residents in Bengkulu who were reached by AFP did not feel the tremor or said it was felt faintly.

“Strangely, I didn’t feel anything at all. I was still outside talking to my neighbor and we didn’t even know there was an earthquake,” Hendri Tasparillo, 34, told AFP.

A warning from the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in India, issued shortly after the quake lifted at 1439 GMT.

“Based on preliminary model scenarios, there is NO THREAT to Indian Ocean countries,” it said.

Indonesia experiences frequent earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide and stretching from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific Basin.

A magnitude 6.2 quake that struck the island of Sulawesi in January last year killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.

In 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than 2,200 people in Palu on the island of Sulawesi.

And in 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake struck Aceh province, causing a tsunami and killing more than 170,000 people in Indonesia.

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