Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Friday, 27 January 2006

Huge quake off Indonesian coast


A massive underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 has struck off the eastern coast of Indonesia, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake reportedly took place at 0158 local time on Saturday morning (1658 GMT on Friday) in the Banda Sea.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

In December 2004, a huge earthquake off Indonesia's coast killed hundreds of thousands of people by triggering a tsunami across the Indian Ocean.

There is no immediate risk of a tsunami from the latest quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reports.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre of the quake was at a point some 195km (120 miles) south of the city of Ambon at a depth some 342km (212 miles) below sea level.

People in Ambon fled their homes in panic when the two-minute long quake struck, the Associated Press news agency quotes internet news site,, as saying.

Indonesia's location along a boundary between continental plates makes it prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

The earthquake that triggered the 2004 tsunami had a magnitude of 9 and killed more than 130,000 people in Indonesia's western province of Banda Aceh.

Tens of thousands more died when giant sea waves triggered by the quake lashed the shores of Thailand, Sri Lanka and southern India.

Another strong earthquake in early 2005 killed almost 1,000 people on the Indonesian island of Nias.

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