Indonesia struck by magnitude 6.8 earthquake

06 February 2004

A large earthquake occurred this morning in the Irian Jaya region of Indonesia, approximately 90 km NW of Enarotali (approximately 1100 km NE of Darwin). The earthquake of magnitude 6.8 occurred at 6.05 local time (21:05 UT).

The event was relatively shallow, occurring approximately 10 km below the surface and was probably felt over a wide area.

"Major damage could be expected up to 30km from the epicentre and minor damage up to 100km from the epicentre. However, so far we've had no reports of damage", Geoscience Australia Seismologist Dr Mark Leonard said.

"Earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or more are common in the Indonesian island arc and they occur about once a week on average. However, large earthquakes such as these are mostly in the Banda Sea region but aren't common on land".

In the last 20 years there have been five large earthquakes in this region. The most recent of these was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in March 1995 that occurred within 50km of this event.

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