Major earthquake shakes Indonesia

17 July 2006

A major earthquake occurred this evening 240km SSW of Tasikmalaya, Java, Indonesia and 225 km NE of Christmas Island.

The shallow 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred at 4:19 pm Perth time and 6:19 pm Sydney time. It was tsunamigenic.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin warning of a potential local tsunami for coastal areas in the region.

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded a 60cm surge on its Christmas Island tide gauge and 10cm on Cocos Island. Geoscience Australia predicted a small surge would reach the north-western parts of WA's coastline, approximately three hours after the earthquake.

"This was a shallow event, occurring below the Indian Ocean", said Geoscience Australia Duty Seismologist David Jepsen. "The earthquake could have been felt within an 1100 km radius of the epicenter."

Several large magnitude 6 earthquakes have occurred in the same location following the major event.

"This is a very active region, being the eastern part of the tectonic plate boundary that ruptured and caused the tsunami that devastated countries bordering the Indian Ocean in December 2004," said Mr Jepsen.

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