A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck off-shore near Indonesia in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time, sending tremors as far as northern Australia.
The epicenter of the earthquake hit off the coast of the Tanimbar islands in Indonesia, between East Timor and Papua, at a depth of 105 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey. Residents rushed to flee their homes as a tsunami warning was issued, but was subsequently lifted after three hours, Reuters reported.
Initial reports from Indonesia’s disaster agency suggest at least 15 homes and two school buildings were damaged by the earthquake and four significant aftershocks, according to Reuters. One person was injured, but locals have been advised to continue with their normal activities.
Notable quake, preliminary info: M 7.6 – Pulau Pulau Tanimbar, Indonesia https://t.co/kRNGOMDcBV
— USGS Earthquakes (@USGS_Quakes) January 9, 2023
“Based on our observation of four tide gauges around the earthquake’s epicenter … there was no anomaly detected or no significant changes of sea level,” BMKG geophysics agency’s head Dwikorita Karnawati said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
Shaking was felt by more than 1,000 people in Australia, the New York Post reported. (RELATED: Footage Shows How Extreme Weather Wreaked Havoc On Lake Tahoe State Park And Surrounding California Regions)
The Indonesian archipelago sits atop the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region where earthquakes and other geological activity is common due to tectonic plate movements along a significant boundary, according to National Geographic.
A 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Java in November, killing more than 300 people, Reuters reported. Historically, the region was subjected to a series of huge underwater earthquakes in 2004, which prompted two tsunamis that killed 160,000 people, roughly 5% of the local population, according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.