Earthquake rattles eastern Indonesia

A moderate earthquake rattled eastern Indonesia Thursday, a meteorological official said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The 5.2-magnitude quake struck at 10:40 a.m. (0140 GMT) in the Banda Sea, 290 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of the city of Ambon in the Maluku islands, said Nugroho Dwiputranto.

The epicenter was 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) below the earth's surface, he said. The quake was not related to a 7.7-magnitude temblor that rocked the same region one week ago, causing cracks in some buildings but no known injuries, Dwiputranto said.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The country was the hardest hit by the December 2004 magnitude-9 quake and subsequent tsunami that killed or left missing more than 216,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Aceh province, reports the AP. I.L.

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