Strong earthquake strikes Indonesia, causing damage

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 has struck the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, with shaking felt across the region, seismologists and residents say. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 9:35 p.m. local time on Monday, was centered about 33 kilometers (21 miles) northwest of Poso in Central Sulawesi province, or 79 kilometers (49 miles) southeast of Palu. It struck at a depth of just 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Indonesia's seismological agency BMKG both put the preliminary magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6. There is no threat of a tsunami and no evacuations have been ordered, BMKG said.

A local official from Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said a number of buildings had collapsed as a result of the earthquake, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities. Assessments are still underway.

Computer models from the USGS estimated that some 23.4 million people in the region may have felt Monday's earthquake, including up to 200,000 people who may have experienced "strong" to "very strong" shaking. Structures in the area are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, it said.

Indonesia is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.

In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 tremor, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, struck off the west coast of Sumatra, unleashing a massive tsunami that struck scores of countries in the region and killed at least 227,898 people.

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