Series Of Powerful Quakes Rock Eastern Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A series of powerful earthquakes in remote eastern Indonesia cut power lines, cracked building walls and sent panicked residents running out of their homes Sunday, officials and witnesses said.

A 7.6-magnitude quake struck at 2:43 a.m. local time about 85 miles from Manokwari, Papua, at a depth of 22 miles, the U.S. Geological Agency said.

The Indonesian Meteorology and Seismology Agency issued a tsunami alert but it was revoked within an hour after it was determined the epicenter was on land.

The initial jolt was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, including one with a strength of 7.5, the agency said.

"We have not been able to get any information of casualties or damage but since the epicenters were on land, they have a potential to cause significant damage," said Rahmat Priyono, a supervisor at the National Earthquake Center.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in Papua, which is about 1,830 miles east of the capital in some of the nation's least developed territory.

Electricity went off and people fled their homes in the dark, fearing a tsunami, said Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official.

In the town of Sorong, very near to the epicenter, a resident told El Shinta radio that buildings and houses had been slightly damaged.

Indonesia straddles a chain of fault lines and volcanoes known as the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to seismic activity. A huge quake off western Indonesia caused the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed around 230,000 people, more than half of them in Sumatra.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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