09/11/2008, 00.00
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Earthquake rocks Moluccas and Hokkaido

by Mathias Hariyadi
The tremors struck this morning in quick succession. Danger of Tsunami avoided. So far no reports of victims.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Two strong earthquakes struck the Moluccas islands, (north east Indonesia) and the Island of Hokkaido (north Japan) this morning briefly triggering a tsunami alert.

The first, which had a magnitude of 6.6, occurred at 0902 (0002 GMT) about 120km (75 miles) north of the city of Ternate, the US Geological Survey said. A few minutes later, a 7.2-magnitude quake hit Hokkaido's coast, 220km (135 miles) east of the capital, Sapporo. There have so far been no reports of casualties from either country.

All of the inhabitants on Ternate Island abandoned their homes in a state of panic.  Ternate is popular among tourists for its sea and marine bed.  A tsunami alert was revoked after the threat had passed.

Warnings of a possible tsunami were also triggered in Japan, fortunately without consequence.  The wave formed in the wake of the quake measured only 50 cm.  Indonesia and Japan both lie on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, one of the world's most seismically active areas. An earthquake off Indonesia triggered the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed approximately 220,000 people across the Indian Ocean.

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