A powerful earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale has struck off eastern Indonesia, but there have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage.According to the US Geological Survey(USGS), the quake occurred at 8:52 p. m.(1152 GMT) on Sunday in waters near the remote Barat Daya islands in Maluku province, 411 kilometers(254 miles) east of Atambua and 425 kilometers(264 miles) south of Ambon, at a depth of 132 kilometers(82 miles). Australia’s national AAP news agency reported that the quake was also felt about 500 kilometers(300 miles) away in the country’s northern city of Darwin. “It went for quite a length of time, around 30 seconds… We had books moving, ” Steph Bond, senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, said. However, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.
“We have not received any reports of casualties or damage. I don ' t think there ' s going to be any significant impact, ” said an official from Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency.Chief search and rescue official for Maluku province, Amin Bin Tongke also said, “The quake is in a really remote area, near a cluster of small islands away from cities or towns, with a very small population.” On August 12, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake took place at a depth of 92 kilometers (57 miles), 189 kilometers (117 miles) west-northwest of Saumlaki in the Maluku chain of islands. Indonesia is vulnerable to earthquakes since it is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region known for its seismic and volcanic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates. In May 2012, an 8.7-magnitude quake hit off the city of Banda Aceh, triggering regional tsunami alerts. In December 2004, Indonesia was hit the hardest by a giant 9.1-magnitude quake and tsunami, which killed an estimated 170,000 people in Aceh province.