Strong earthquake hits Banda Sea in Indonesia, no tsunami threat

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A strong but deep earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck the Banda Sea off Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, seismologists say. No tsunami watches or warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 7:47 p.m. local time on Tuesday, was centered about 130 kilometers (81 miles) northwest of Boleng, a small village in East Nusa Tenggara province. It struck at a depth of 549 kilometers (341 miles), making it a deep earthquake.

Indonesia’s seismological agency BMKG put the preliminary magnitude of Tuesday’s earthquake at 6.6 and said there was no threat of a tsunami. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude slightly higher, at 6.7.

Computer models from the USGS estimated that up to 19.8 million people across the region could potentially have felt very weak shaking. “There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage,” the agency said.

Indonesia is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.

In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 tremor, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, struck off the west coast of Sumatra, unleashing a massive tsunami that struck scores of countries in the region and killed at least 227,898 people.

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