A strong, deep 7.1-magnitude earthquake and several aftershocks rattled Bali and other Indonesian islands on Tuesday, the USGS reported, sending panicked tourists into the streets but causing no major damage.
The quake struck at a depth of around 515 kilometres off the northeastern coast of Bali at around 3:55 am local time (1955 GMT Monday), according to the US Geological Survey.
The tremors were felt across Bali, and also in the nearby islands of Lombok and Sumbawa.
Bali residents said a second aftershock sent “longer and stronger” tremors than the first.
“When the first earthquake struck, I woke up my husband. Not long after that, the second earthquake struck, so we immediately took our children outside,” said Ardylla Yuliacitra, 31.
“The first earthquake made me sway like on a boat, and the second made my house tremble.”
The USGS reported a 5.4-magnitude and a 5.6-magnitude aftershock within minutes of the initial quake.
Hotels evacuated their guests as staffers checked beaches for fear of a possible tsunami.
“We calmed (guests) and provided mineral water and towels for those who were evacuating. Then after 15 to 20 minutes, when things felt safe, the staff invited guests to return to their rooms,” said Nimas Ayu, spokesperson of the Artotel hotel in Bali’s eastern Sanur area.
The epicentre was 181 km northeast of the Gili islands off Lombok, a short boat ride from Bali.
Indonesian authorities ruled out a tsunami and said no immediate damage was reported.
“Our teams are carrying assessments as they are still collecting reports from the people,” the Bali disaster mitigation agency said in a statement.
Indonesia experiences frequent earthquakes due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
In November, a 5.6-magnitude quake hit the populous West Java province on the main island of Java, killing 602 people.
A major earthquake off Indonesia’s Sumatra island on December 26, 2004, set off an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people as far away as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.