A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of central Indonesia today, the US Geological Survey said, sending panicked people rushing into the streets but there was no tsunami alert.

The quake struck at 0916 GMT more than 160 kilometres south-southeast of Gorontalo in central Indonesia’s Sulawesi island at a depth of 18 kilometres.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics agency (BMKG) measured it at 6.0 at a depth of 10 kilometres.

“The epicentre was in the sea but it doesn’t have the potential to trigger a tsunami,” BMKG official Agung Utomo said. “We haven’t received any report of damage so far.”

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the ground shook for several seconds.

“The quake was quite strong and all the guests here — about 30 people — panicked and ran out into the street,” said Rudi Gowarno, manager of Ramayana hotel in the town of Luwuk.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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