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7.3 earthquake strikes Indonesia, shakes Australia

By Darryl Coote
7.3 earthquake strikes Indonesia, shakes Australia
The earthquake was the result of strike-slip faulting, which is where blocks along fault lines move horizontally from one another. Photo courtesy of United States Geological Survey/Website

June 24 (UPI) -- A strong 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Indonesia in the Banda Sea Monday, causing buildings to sway in the northern Australian city of Darwin.

The United States Geological Survey said it registered the quake at 2:43 a.m. some 178 miles northwest of Saumlaki, one of the 65 Tanimbar Islands of Indonesia.

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The temblor occurred at an "intermediate depth" of 130 miles beneath the Banda Sea as a result of strike-slip faulting, which is where blocks along fault lines move horizontally from one another, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

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The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology said that there was no threat of a Tsunami.

However, Darwin residents reported that some buildings began to sway due to the earthquake, which caused some of its city center to be evacuated, The Guardian reported.

Some 200 staff were evacuated from the City's Health House building though it was only precautionary, said Maggie Jamieson, deputy chief executive of health policy strategy.

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"There are some cracks -- whether they're old or new we don't know -- and that's why we're getting some structural engineers to come in and check it," she said. "We hope that everything is safe and sound and we can come back to work, but we'll wait on the news to find out what's happening," Australia's ABC News reported.

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The USGS said the location is known to experience frequent moderate to large earthquakes with over 50 magnitude 6 or greater temblors hitting within 155 miles of Monday's incident.

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