7.6 earthquake damages buildings in Indonesia, felt in Australia

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JAKARTA, Indonesia – A powerful deep earthquake damaged buildings in a town in eastern Indonesia early Tuesday, and its tremors were felt in northern Australia.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency issued a tsunami warning after the 7.6-magnitude quake struck three hours later.

“Based on four tide gauge observations around the epicenter of the earthquake, it showed no anomaly or significant change in sea level,” said agency head Dwikorita Karnawati.

Tremors were felt in several regions, including the provinces of Papua and East Nusa Tenggara.

The national disaster mitigation agency received visual reports of damage to houses and community buildings in the village of Watuwey in Southwest Maluku.

The US Geological Survey said the epicenter of the earthquake was at a depth of 105 kilometers (65 miles) near northern Australia.

Deeper earthquakes tend to cause less surface damage than shallow shaking but are felt more widely.

More than 1,000 people in northern Australia, including the city of Darwin, reported feeling the earthquake to Geoscience Australia. The Australian Joint Tsunami Warning Center said the earthquake did not pose a tsunami threat to the mainland or any islands or areas.

Australian singer Vassy wrote on Twitter that this was the longest earthquake she had felt.

“We ran out of the house in the middle of the night. I have never experienced an earthquake that lasted so long and felt so strong. It was kind of scary,” Vassy wrote. “We woke up in the middle of the night.”

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes and lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific where most earthquakes and volcanic activity occurs.

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