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Magnitude 7.3 earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia

By Allen Cone
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Magnitude 7.3 earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia
The eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera, which is part of Indonesia's eastern Maluku island chain, was struck by 7.3-magnitude earthquake Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Map courtesy USGA

July 14 (UPI) -- A 7.3-magnitude earthquake jolted the eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera, which is part of the country's eastern Maluku island chain, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck at 6:10 p.m. local time at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to USGA. It was centered 94.5 miles from Sofifi, North Maluku, which is 1,619 miles east of Jakarta, 370 miles south of Davo, Philippines, and 247 miles north of North Papua New Guinea.

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One hour before the earthquake in Indonesia, a magnitude 6.6 quake struck northwestern Western Australia at a depth also of 6.2 miles, 12.6 miles east of Broome, the USGA reported.

The quake in Indonesia struck an area that is sparsely populated.

An estimated 4,000 people were exposed to "very strong" effects from the earthquake, according to Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

BMKG said the main quake was felt throughout cities in the Sulawesi and Papua islands, and there were least seven aftershocks, each stronger than 5 magnitudes.

Panicked people in the regency rushed out of their homes as the quake lasted 2 to 5 seconds according to a South Halmahera Disaster Mitigation Agency report obtained by The Jakarta Post.

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Last week, a 6.9-magnitude quake rocked the northeast shore of Sulawesi, which is west of the area impacted on Sunday.

Indonesia regularly experiences major earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions because the area sits on the Ring of Fire, which stretches from North and South America to Japan and New Zealand, covering several major faultlines.

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