KOMPAS.com – A 6.1 Richter Scale earthquake has shaken the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku on Wednesday. No casualties were reported in the natural disaster, which struck the island of Seram in the province’s Central Maluku Regency.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency or BMKG said the earthquake occurred at a depth of 19 kilometers, 69 kilometers off the town of Masohi in Seram.
“The tremors are classified as a shallow earthquake,” said BMKG Earthquake and Tsunami center head Bambang Setiyo Prayitno MSi.
“The tremors were felt in Masohi and the nearby districts of Tehoru, Bula, Kairatu, Saparua, and Wahai.”Bambang added that 13 aftershocks averaging 3.5 Richter scale occurred in the wake of the earthquake.
“As a shallow earthquake, the earthquake will not theoretically cause a tsunami. However, the Tehoru Tide Gauge detected a 0.5 meter rise in water levels,” he maintained.“We deduce that [the rising waters] are caused by underwater landslides.
Bambang asserted that the underwater landslides are cause for concern. “I urge people who live on the shores of Japutih Beach to Atiahu Beach to beware of aftershocks and tsunamis caused by underwater landslides or those on the surface,” he said.
“They should avoid the beach and head for higher ground if they felt the earthquake. The BMKG will continue to monitor for aftershocks and its effects on the seas.”
However, BMKG Regional head for Maluku Herlambang Hudha maintained a tsunami did occur. "The tsunami emerged from two minutes after the earthquake. It passed very quickly," he said.