JAKARTA: A major earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, hit eastern Indonesia on Sunday, triggering panic among the residents who immediately rushed to open areas and onto the streets for their safety.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake hit the Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia.
U.S. Geological Survey: Earthquake of magnitude 7.3 occurred at Halmahera, Indonesia at 09:10 (local time), today.
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The epicentre of the earthquake was somewhere near the South Halmahera, the USGS said
The US agency later downgraded the magnitude of the earthquake to 5.8.
However, no tsunami warning was issued. Indonesia's meteorology agency said that there is no tsunami potential from the quake.
A 5.8 magnitude aftershock followed around 30 minutes after, the agency website showed.
There were no immediate reports of damages or casualties in the quake.
"There are no reports of infrastructure damage yet," Iksan Subur, an official with Indonesia`s disaster mitigation agency based in the regency of South Halmahera, near the earthquake`s epicentre, was quoted as saying by the international media.
"But people panicked and ran out of their houses. Some people who live near the ocean are starting to move to higher ground," he said.
The province was also hit by a 6.9-magnitude tremor last week but no extensive damage was reported.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people with another thousand declared missing.
On December 26, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.