A major magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua yesterday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, sending panicked crowds running into the streets.
There were no reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued after the quake struck on land at 1:42pm at a depth of 75km, 272km west-southwest of the provincial capital Jayapura, the USGS said.
Local seismologists had measured the quake at magnitude 7.2.
People in the capital of the province told reporters they felt the quake strongly and hundreds went running into the streets.
Narsi Bay said she was in a meeting on the first floor of a hotel in Jayapura when she felt a “strong shaking.”
“I went downstairs to go outside as quickly as I could as I was afraid that the building would collapse,” the 21-year-old told reporters. “I saw lamps, tables, and chairs shaking. Some people screamed in panic and shouted at others in the hotel to go outside.”
Suharjono, from the country’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told reporters that the quake was felt most strongly in Mulia City, Puncak Jaya District.
It was strong enough to “wake people who are sleeping and break windows, but it won’t cause buildings to collapse,” he said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that the quake had not generated a tsunami.
“The quake happened on land, there is no tsunami threat,” an official from the Indonesian agency told reporters.
He added that the agency had not received any reports of damage.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
A massive quake struck off Aceh in 2004, sparking a tsunami that killed 170,000 people in the province on Sumatra and tens of thousands more in countries around the Indian Ocean.