Severe earthquake in Indonesia felt as far away as Australia

A massive 7.3 magnitude earthquake set off at sea in eastern Indonesia on Monday, according to the USGS geophysical institute, and was felt as far away as Australia without a tsunami warning.

There was no information on possible victims or damage in the immediate future.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 208 kilometers in the Banda Sea, south of the Maluku archipelago, at 11:53 local time (0253 GMT), according to the US institute.

But the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert saying it had occurred at great depth.

The Indonesian Geophysical Agency (BMKG), which estimated the magnitude of the quake to be 7.7, points out that it was felt as far away as Bali, hundreds of kilometers away, while residents of the city of Darwin north of Australia were also shaken.

The Australian city south of the quake's epicenter has evacuated part of its business district after the quake, reported ABC's Australian channel.

"Wow, it's a big impact for #Darwin, I hope everyone is healthy is safe," tweeted the weather office of the Northern Territories in Australia.

Not long ago, another magnitude 6.1 tremor struck Papua in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago.

This 21-kilometer tremor had its epicenter 240 kilometers west of the city of Abepura, according to the US Institute.

Last week a shock of magnitude 6.4 in northwestern Japan had made about twenty wounded and some damage.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands and islets that was formed by the convergence of three large tectonic plates (Indo-Pacific, Australian, Eurasian), is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of high seismic activity.

Last year an earthquake of 7.5 followed by a tsunami in Palu on the island of Celebes left more than 2,200 dead and thousands missing.

On December 26, 2004, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake set off in Aceh province in the far west of the Indonesian archipelago, causing a massive tsunami across the Pacific, killing some 170,000 people.

Source: Seychelles News Agency