7.5 Indonesia quake felt in Australia

People gather outside during an evacuation near Darwin Entertainment Centre on Monday. Photo:...
People gather outside during an evacuation near Darwin Entertainment Centre on Monday. Photo: Harriet Robinson via Reuters
A powerful, deep 7.5 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia, and was felt as far away as Australia.

Monday morning's quake was reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS), while Pacific monitoring authorities ruled out the chance of a tsunami.

The strong shaking caused alarm in the East Timor capital of Dili, prompting people to run out of their houses, a Reuters witness said, but there were no immediate reports of damage, injuries or deaths.

The quake struck in the Banda Sea in Indonesia at a depth of 220km and was felt across northern Australia. 

In Darwin, about 700km away from the epicentre, the quake was felt at lunchtime, shaking buildings in the CBD. Several hotels and businesses were evacuated, with tremors felt for about five minutes. No damage or injuries were reported.

"It's probably one of the strongest I've felt in my time here in Darwin," Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Kent told ABC Radio Darwin.

"We ended up wandering outside for about 15 minutes to let things settle down."

One worker, Robyn, said no alarm had gone off but people decided to get out of the building anyway. It was the strongest she had ever felt in Darwin.

Geoscience Australia said the quake had been felt as afield as Western Australia's Kimberley region.

ConocoPhillips, operator of the Darwin LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant, and Inpex, operator of Ichthys LNG onshore facilities, both said their sites were operating normally following the tremor.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2. Due to the quake's depth there was no tsunami threat, said the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The Indonesian geophysics agency recorded at least one aftershock measuring over magnitude four on the Richter scale.

The quake was also felt on Indonesia's holiday island of Bali, several people said on social media. However, there were no immediate reports of damage or injury in Indonesia, said Rita Rosita, an official of the national disaster mitigation agency.

Earlier on Monday, a strong quake of magnitude 6.1 struck the eastern province of Papua, but no deaths were reported.

QUAKE JOLTS JAPAN

A quake with a magnitude of 5.5 also hit eastern Japan on Monday morning.

Its epicentre was off the coast of Chiba prefecture, adjacent to Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning had been issued.

The quake struck at 9.16am (local time). There were no were immediate reports of damage.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20% of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. 

- Reuters and AAP 

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