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Tsunami warning issued in Indonesia after strong quake strikes in Molucca Sea

Authorities in Indonesia issued a tsunami warning on Sunday after a strong earthquake struck in the Molucca Sea.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.9 quake was centered about 114 miles southeast of Manado, at a depth of 15 miles.

Indonesia’s Tsunami Early Warning System issued an alert, saying local and regional governments are “expected to pay attention and immediately direct the community to stay away from the beach and river banks”

A graphic posted on Twitter by Indonesia’s geophysics agency predicted waves of 1.6 feet for parts of North Sulawesi and North Maluku. There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties.

The quake caused panic in the city of Ternate in the Maluku island chain, where people ran to higher ground, a witness told The Associated Press.

Radio El Shinta reported that residents in Manado, North Sulawesi’s provincial capital, ran out of their houses.

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake was centered about 114 miles southeast of Manado, Indonesia in the Molucca Sea at a depth of 15 miles, according to the USGS.

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake was centered about 114 miles southeast of Manado, Indonesia in the Molucca Sea at a depth of 15 miles, according to the USGS. (USGS)

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, lies along the Pacific’s so-called “Ring of Fire,” a 25,000-mile horseshoe-shaped ring, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes, according to the USGS.

The region is the location of most of Earth’s subduction zones, where oceanic plates slide under the lighter continental plates.

Earthquakes tend to happen when those plates scrape or subside underneath each other, and when that happens at sea it can spawn tsunamis.

The region also contains 452 volcanoes, more than 75 percent of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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