Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:57 UK

Strong quake hits off Indonesia

Map showing location of earthquake

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has hit deep under the sea off Indonesia's coast, the US Geological Survey (USGS) says.

The quake was reported in the Banda Sea, near the Maluku islands to the east of East Timor.

It struck at 2340 local time (1440 GMT) at a depth of 92 miles (148km), USGS said. Indonesian authorities issued, but later withdrew, a tsunami alert.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the world's most active areas for earthquakes and volcanoes.

It has recently been struck by string of deadly earthquakes. In September, dozens were killed by a tremor off Java, while a quake which hit Sumatra left more than 1,000 people dead.

According the the USGS, Saturday's earthquake struck 138 miles (222km) from Saumlaki, in Indonesia's Tanimbar islands.

Indonesian authorities put the quake's magnitude at 7.3.

People in the area reportedly ran to higher ground after they felt the tremor, though there was no immediate news of injuries or damage.

Seismologists said the earthquake was too deep for there be a tsunami risk, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

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