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No tsunami from big earthquake off Indonesia

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    This map created by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows the location of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck at about 4:30 a.m. Hawaii time in Indonesia. The map also shows other recent earthquakes in the region.

JAKARTA, Indonesia >> A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia late Wednesday, prompting villagers to flee to higher ground, but officials said a tsunami was unlikely.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said based on historical records the quake was not sufficient to trigger a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.8 quake hit about 100 miles northwest of Ternate, the provincial capital of North Maluku, and was centered 25 miles below the seabed. 

George Rajaloa, a resident of Ternate, said by telephone that many people ran out of their homes and away from coastal areas out of fear that there would be a tsunami.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In 2004, a massive earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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