Major Earthquake, Molucca Sea

A major earthquake struck in the Molucca Sea off Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia just after midnight, Sunday, New Zealand Daylight Time.

The shallow magnitude 7.3 earthquake, which struck at 28 minutes past midnight on Monday 22nd January 2007 (NZDT) was centred 165 km east of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia at a depth of 10 km.

The waves generated by the earthquake took just 12 minutes to register on Geonet’s seismograph network in New Zealand.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a bulletin at 00:44 a.m. NZDT advising that NO tsunami threat existed for coastlines in the Pacific.

However, the bulletin added that such an event could generate locally destructive tsunami waves and, because the PTWC monitors a limited number of sea-level gauges outside the Pacific, it may not be able to quickly detect or measure a tsunami if one was generated.

The PTWC issued an updated bulletin at 1:16 a.m. Monday (NZDT) revising the earthquake’s magnitude upward to 7.6 but, in the absence of data from sea level gauges, its tsunami warning for the Pacific remained unchanged.

[Compiled from data provided by the US Geological Survey and its contributing agencies; the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, and the Geonet project and its sponsors EQC, GNS Science and FRST.]

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