Maumere in Indonesia has experienced a big earthquake measuring at 7.6 on the Richter scale according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which has triggered tsunami warnings. Indonesia has estimated the earthquake at 7.4, with the epicenter at East Nusa Tenggura.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, on the other hand, estimated the magnitude at 7.7, placing the earthquake at a depth of 5km.
Residents around the island of Flores and north of it were forced to evacuate the area in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the tremors hit at approximately 3:20 AM (GMT). No casualties or severe damage has been reported so far although the USGS has also cautioned residents to look out for landslides.
Tsunami warnings were issued for the areas of Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and Southeast and South Sulawesi, after the quake hit 112 km (69.59 miles) northwest of Larantuka, in the eastern part of Flores, at a depth of 12 km. Aftershocks were felt in the Larantuka province according to Al Jazeera reports.
Indonesia sits on the highly seismically-active portion of the Earth, with frequent volcanic activity and earthquakes, the deadliest of which is the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that was caused by the 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. The tsunami wave killed 220,000 people.