Magnitude 6.1 quake hits near Indonesia's Moluccas islands

Magnitude 6.1 quake hits near Indonesia's Moluccas islands

June 16, 2021

Tsunami fears as powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake strikes off Indonesia with officials warning islanders to ‘move to higher ground’

  • The earthquake hit near the Moluccas islands, also known as the Maluku islands 
  • It struck at a depth of 6.21 miles (10 km), prompting fears of a Tsunami
  • Such a wave could potentially be triggered by an underwater landslide
  • Unverified video appeared to show some locals fleeing to higher ground 

Fears of a tsunami have been raised after a powerful 6.1-magnitute earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday.

Indonesia’s geophysics agency warned of possible aftershocks and tsunami potential and for islanders to ‘move to higher ground’ after the earthquake hit near the Moluccas islands, also known as the Maluku islands.

The quake struck at a depth of 6.21 miles (10 km).

Indonesia’s geophysics agency warned of possible aftershocks and tsunami potential and for islanders to ‘move to higher ground’ after the earthquake hit near the Moluccas islands, also known as the Maluku islands

‘Please move away from beach and move to higher ground,’ BMKG said in a text message, noting that the warning applied especially to Seram Island.

A tsunami wave could potentially be triggered by underwater landslides, it added. It earlier said there was no tsunami potential.

A local disaster mitigation agency official said there were no report of injured people or casualties so far, but some buildings and public facilities sustained damage.

Unverified videos that circulated online showed some local residents moving to higher ground after the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was centered about 6 miles under the sea and 43 miles from Amahai city on Seram island in Maluku province.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the ‘Ring of Fire,’ an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. 

In 2004, a devastating 9.1 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.

And in 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing. 

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