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Strong undersea quake hits eastern Indonesia, causes panic and small tsunami

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong undersea earthquake hit eastern Indonesia on Saturday, triggering a small tsunami and some panic but no casualties or major damage.

The 7.1 quake occurred west of Halmahera island, which is about four hours' flight from the capital, Jakarta.

Indonesia's meteorological agency said a tsunami wave of 9 centimeters (3.54 inches) washed onto the small island of Jailolo but caused no damage. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center later lifted its advisory for potential hazardous waves for coastal communities.

The quake was strongly felt in several cities in eastern Indonesia, sending many people to run from homes and other buildings, officials and residents said.

The world's largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In 2004, a monster quake off the tip of Sumatra Island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Most of the deaths were on Sumatra.

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