Earthquake jolts Tual

Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA News) - A tectonic earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Tual in Southeast Maluku district at 5.10 Eastern Indonesia Standard Time (WIT) on Monday morning.

Ambon Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesman Benny Sipolo said here on Monday that the epicenter of the temblor was located 5.92 degrees southern latitude and 130.78 degrees eastern longitude at a depth of 92 km under the sea, some 219 km southwest of Tual.

Benny confirmed that the earthquake did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami, fatalities, or material damage.

But Tual city councilor Rudolf Waremra said the magnitude of the earthquake was strong enough to prompt the people in the city to scramble out of their houses and office buildings for fear a of strong aftershock.

"We ran out of our houses and offices to anticipate an ensuing major aftershock," Waremra said.

Parts of Southeast Maluku, Ambon island, Seram and Buru islands are prone to tectonic earthquakes because they lie at

the confluence of three major plates namely the Pacific, Indo Australia, and Eurasia.

Earlier on November 2, West Southeast Maluku (MTB) district town of Saumlaki was also jolted by a 5.3-magnitude earthquake with its epicenter located at 7.31 degrees southern latitude and 129.22 degrees eastern longitude at a depth of 187 km.

But Sipolo said that based on a coordination with MTB district government, the earthquake which was located some 244 km southwest of Saumlaki did not have potential to trigger a tsunami.

Indonesia is prone to seismic upheavals due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", and arch of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.(*)