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Strong Earthquake Kills At Least One in Indonesia


A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing at least one person and prompting brief tsunami warnings.

Thousands of Sulawesi residents evacuated their homes and other buildings when the quake struck early Monday. Many buildings collapsed during the quake, causing at least one death. While the full extent of the damage is still not known, no tidal wave was reported. U.S. and Indonesian authorities quickly lifted their warnings.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake, 135 kilometers off northern Sulawesi, at a magnitude of 7.5, followed by two aftershocks measuring around 5.5. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a brief tsunami warning for coastal residents living within 1,000 kilometers of the epicenter.

Indonesian authorities also issued a tsunami warning, but lifted it soon after. Indonesia's meteorological agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.7.

Last week, Indonesia launched a high-tech tsunami warning system that is designed to avoid the massive fatalities of 2004.

In 2004, a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed more than 200,000 people, most of them in Indonesia.

The country is located on a geological fault line circling the Pacific Basin, known as the Ring of Fire. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common in the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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