At 17:20 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a 5.5 magnitude earthquake was reported to have hit 144 kilometers east northeast of Bitung, Indonesia. The earthquake on the Pacific Ocean ring was reported just one hour ago by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at 1:20 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
There has yet to be any reports of injuries or casualties in the areas that were affected by the 5.5 magnitude quake. It is currently unclear whether or not buildings were damaged in the areas around Bitung and to what extent.The earthquake affected nearly every city within 200 kilometers from the epicenter. The quake hit 151 kilometers northwest of Kota Ternate, 153 kilometers from Ternate, and 175 kilometers from Tobelo.
There have been reports from the USGS that the depth of the epicenter of the quake was 49 kilometers. The USGS has contacted Indonesia’s government to issue a warning for aftershocks within the next few days.
East of Indonesia lies the Kai Islands. There have been nine earthquakes over 7.5 magnitude recorded from the islands to Sumba in the East within the last 100 years. The largest was the great Banda Sea earthquake of 1938 with an 8.5 magnitude.
By Alex Lemieux
USGS: M5.5 – 144km ENE of Bitung, Indonesia
Earthquaketrack.com: 5.5 magnitude earthquake 144 km from Bitung, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia
Photo Courtesy of TropicaLiving – Jessy Eykendorp ‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License