6.0-magnitude quake hits near Indonesian island: USGS

Indonesia's geophysics agency (BMKG) reported no immediate tsunami but warned of possible aftershocks. It initially reported a magnitude of 6.3.

September 10, 2023 12:03 am | Updated 12:25 am IST - Jakarta

A shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit near the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Saturday, the United States Geological Survey said, with no damage or casualties immediately reported.

The tremor hit at 9:43 p.m. local time (1443 GMT) at a depth of 9.9 kilometres, according to the USGS.

Indonesia's geophysics agency (BMKG) reported no immediate tsunami but warned of possible aftershocks. It initially reported a magnitude of 6.3.

"I was having a good sleep (when the earthquake jolted). I jumped out of bed immediately," said Qamariah, a 41-year-old housewife in Central Sulawesi's Malei village.

"It felt like being shaken as if rice was being sifted. It went up and then down. It was really strong because I lived close to the epicentre. It lasted for about 5 seconds," she told AFP.

She said the power was out in her area so she could not see if there was damage.

"I am outside (my house) right now, with family and my neighbours," she added.

Video obtained by AFP showed panicking people in Central Sulawesi's Lambonga village gathered in groups outside of their homes as they sought safety in fear of aftershocks.

"As of now, there have been no reports of damage and casualties caused by the earthquake," the Palu Search and Rescue Agency said in a statement.

"The residents of Balesang coastal village in Pabean, Donggala regency, have evacuated to higher ground, with the majority leaving their homes," it added, referring to an area in Central Sulawesi.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation, experiences frequent earthquakes due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

A 6.2-magnitude quake that shook Sulawesi island in January 2021 killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.

In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi killed more than 2,200 people.

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

In November last year, a 5.6-magnitude quake hit the Southeast Asian nation's Java island, killing 602 people.

Most of the victims of that earthquake were killed when buildings collapsed or in landslides triggered by the tremor.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the country's Sumatra island in April, shaking homes of panicked residents but causing no casualties or damage.

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