A deep earthquake in the Banda Sea shook parts of Indonesia, East Timor and Australia. The giant tremor did not cause a tsunami and there were no initial reports of major damage or injury.
A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday and was felt as far away as Australia.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 208 kilometers (129 miles) below the earth's surface in the Banda Sea at 11:53 a.m. local time (2:53 UTC). The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it was too deep to cause a tsunami.
The USGS also logged one large aftershock of magnitude 5.2, as well as a mid-sized quake nearby a few hours prior to the larger tremor. There were no injuries or damage reported as Indonesia's disaster agency urged people to "stay calm."
The Banda Sea earthquake was recorded minutes after a magnitude 6.1 quake in a thinly populated area 233 kilometers west of the Indonesian province of Papua, at a depth of 20 kilometers.
Shocks in Australia
Strong shaking caused alarm in East Timor's capital of Dili, according to Reuters news agency.
The Australian city of Darwin on the country's northern coast was also affected by the quake; several high-rise buildings in the city were evacuated.
"It's probably one of the strongest I've felt in my time here in Darwin," Chris Kent of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology told ABC Radio Darwin. "We ended up wandering outside for about 15 minutes to let things settle down."
No major damage or injuries were reported in Darwin.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its location along the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide.
Last year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island. The disaster killed 2,200 people with a thousand more declared missing.
The most disastrous earthquake in recent memory occurred in December 2004, when a 9.1 magnitude quake caused a tsunami and killed 230,000 in a dozen countries, including more than 170,000 in Indonesia.
dv/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)