Jakarta (ANTARA) - A 5.9-magnitude earthquake that jolted West Java's southern region on Wednesday was triggered by a rock deformation in the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, a seismologist said.

Given its epicenter and hypocenter, the quake struck at a moderate depth and was the result of rock deformation in the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, which subducted beneath the Eurasian plate, head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency's Earthquake and Tsunami Center, Daryono, explained.

The magnitude of the quake, which occurred at 7:53 a.m. local time, was later updated to 5.7.

He said that the quake's epicenter was located at sea, about 77 kilometers southwest of Sukabumi city, West Java province, at a depth of 63 km.

Tremors from the quake could be felt as far as Pelabuhan Ratu, Cianjur, Panggarangan, Lebak, Garut, Lembang, Bandung Barat, Cimahi (West Java), and Tangerang Selatan (Banten province), he informed.

As reported by ANTARA, the earthquake occurred four days after Sumedang district in West Java was jolted by a series of shallow earthquakes.

The shallow quakes, whose highest magnitude was 4.8, damaged 248 homes and displaced 456 residents.

The earthquakes also forced medical personnel at Sumedang Public Hospital to evacuate 108 patients to the hospital's front and back yards.

Meanwhile, Sukabumi's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) asked the city's residents to report any quake-related damage to their homes to the agency's personnel or their community and neighborhood units so they could get immediate assistance.

"We, however, have yet to receive any report of damages in the aftermath of the quake," the agency's head, Novian Rahmat, informed. He then urged residents to stay calm, but remain alert for potential aftershocks.

Earthquakes are a regular occurrence in several parts of Indonesia since the country lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and cause frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

On December 26, 2004, Aceh, the country's westernmost province, experienced the deadliest earthquake ever on record. The quake had a magnitude of 9.3 and was followed by a tsunami.

The catastrophe, which also affected certain coastal areas in countries such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, reportedly killed at least 230 thousand people in Aceh.

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Translator: Zubi M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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