6.6-magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia

JAKARTA, July 7, 2020 (AFP) - A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Java island early Tuesday but without causing any major damage, the United States Geological Survey and local authorities said.

The strong offshore quake struck at a depth of more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) around sunrise (2254 GMT Monday).

The epicentre was about 100 kilometres off the city of Batang in Central Java province, according to the USGS.

“There’s no tsunami potential and, so far, no reports of any damage,” Rahmat Triyono, spokesman for Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency told AFP.

Deep quakes tend to cause less shaking than shallower ones, which have far more potential for destruction.

According to residents, the tremor was felt in the south of Java island around Yogyakarta, the country’s cultural capital.

“Yes, I felt the tremor but it wasn’t very strong. However, a bird cage in my house fell off,” said Esti Nuryani, a resident of nearby Klaten.

He said the tremor felt like it could have come from the nearby Merapi volcano. But “I cycled this morning and Merapi looked calm”.

The Southeast Asian archipelago experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

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

A devastating 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, triggering a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.