5.8 magnitude quake hits Indonesia’s West Papua

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua today, causing nervous residents to panic about a week after a tsunami killed hundreds further west in the archipelago.

Though the US Geological Survey gave a 5.8 magnitude, Indonesian authorities measured the quake with a magnitude of 6.1 and said it was “felt quite strongly for several seconds”. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The region in Papua, which makes up half the island known as New Guinea, is sparsely populated.

The epicentre of the quake was on land near the city of Manokwari at a depth of 55 km. The Indonesian meteorological agency said it did not have the potential to trigger a tsunami.

A partial crater collapse on Anak Krakatoa volcano on December 22 triggered a tsunami killed atleast 430 people and another 159 missing, when waves of up to 5 metres smashed into the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra.

Saturday’s tsunami was Indonesia’s third major natural disaster in just six months. The tsunami in July and August on Lombok Island, killed hundreds of people. And, the earthquake-tsunami claimed more than 2,000 lives in Palu on Sulawesi island, in September.