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Published: Friday, 1/27/2006

Major earthquake hits off Indonesian coast

ASSOCIATED PRESS

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A magnitude-7.7 undersea earthquake rocked eastern Indonesia early Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There was no danger of a tsunami, and no injuries were reported.

The earthquake occurred in the Banda Sea about 120 miles south of Ambon city, the USGS said. It occurred at a depth of 212 miles.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no destructive tsunami threat existed.

Amran, an official at Indonesia's meteorological agency in the capital, Jakarta, said there were no immediate reports of damages or injuries. Like many Indonesians, he goes by only one name.

The Internet news portal Detik.com reported from Ambon that people fled their houses in panic when the earthquake, which lasted about two minutes, struck.

Ambon is about 1,600 miles east of Jakarta.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location atop a volcanically active region known as the Pacific "Ring of Fire."

A Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake of magnitude 9 off the Indonesian coast generated a tsunami that left at least 216,000 people dead or missing and nearly 2 million homeless in 11 countries.

The true toll will probably never be known many bodies were lost at sea and in some cases the populations of some places struck were not accurately known.

Three months later, another strong tremor killed more than 900 on Nias and smaller surrounding islands in western Indonesia.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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