A strong earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Bali on late Thursday morning, seismologists said, collapsing a number of buildings and injuring dozens of people. There were no immediate reports of fatalities.
The 6.8-magnitude earthquake at 11.16 a.m. local time (0316 GMT) was centered about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Denpasar, the capital city of Bali. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to Indonesia’s seismological agency (BMKG).
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 6.1 on the moment magnitude scale, estimated that some 641,000 people in the region may have felt moderate shaking. Another 4.6 million people may have felt light shaking.
Eyewitnesses said panicked residents and tourists fled the buildings they were in when the earthquake struck the region. A number of buildings were damaged and some collapsed, police said, injuring at least 46 people. There were no immediate reports of fatalities.
Neither BMKG nor the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, although some people fled to higher ground or inland as a precaution. “[The earthquake has] no tsunami potential,” a brief text message from BMKG said, giving no other details. Earthquakes below magnitude 7 do usually not generate tsunamis.
Indonesia is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.
On December 26, 2004, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded struck off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The 9.1-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami, striking scores of countries in the region. In all, at least 227,898 people were killed.
Most recently, on October 25, 2010, a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck just off the Mentawai Islands off the western coast of Sumatra. As a result, a wall of water killed at least 435 people on the islands and impacted more than 20 villages.