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6.7 quake hits near Indonesia's Papua; no reports of tsunami, major damage

JAKARTA -- A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, with reports of minor damage to some houses on remote islands but no tsunami warning issued.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 9:31 am (0131 GMT), was 247 kilometers (153 miles) southwest of Nabire in Papua and 108 kilometers north of Dobo in the Aru Islands, USGS said. It hit at a depth of 24 kilometers.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website said there was no current warning or advisory in effect while social media reports said the quake was felt as far away as Darwin, in northern Australia.

“There is no tsunami potential. The quake was felt in towns of Nabire, Wamena in Papua and the city of Ambon in Maluku islands,” Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency duty officer, Fauzi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

He added that the agency measured the quake at 7.0 magnitude.

A spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said slight damage had been reported in the remote Aru islands in Maluku province, close to the epicenter of the quake.

“People panicked and rushed outside to a safe place. Some houses lightly damaged. There's no reports of any victims,” he said in a text message to AFP.

“Quakes happen quite frequently here but this morning's one was quite strong,” a 35-year old man named Hinki Arpipi who lives in small town of Dobo on the Aru islands told AFP by telephone.

“I was repairing a motorcycle when I felt the ground shaking and I ran out to the street as soon as I could,” Arpipi, who works at a small workshop said.

“Thank God, it did not cause any damage and my family are all safe,” he said.

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

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