JAKARTA, Indonesia >> A strong earthquake struck off eastern Indonesia today, causing panic among residents in East Timor, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and there was no danger of a tsunami.
The magnitude-6.5 quake was centered off Indonesia’s Maluku Baratdaya District, in Maluku province, at a depth of 82 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Bayu Pranata of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the deep quake had no potential to cause a tsunami. He said the epicenter was about 138 miles northeast of the district islands of Maluku Baratdaya.
In Dili, the capital of the tiny half-island nation of East Timor, people poured out of houses and restaurants in panic after the quake struck. Those living near the coast rushed inland to higher ground.
“This quake was felt very strong,” said Dili resident Joao Araujo.
Indonesia is prone to seismic upheavals due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
A magnitude-9.1 earthquake in 2004 off Aceh, Indonesia’s westernmost province, triggered a tsunami, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries. In July, a magnitude-6.1 quake in Aceh killed at least 35 people and damaged more than 4,300 houses and buildings.