Major Earthquake Strikes Indonesia After Volcanic Eruptions

The USGS first reported the earthquake at a 6.1 magnitude at a distance of 174 km from Jayapura

Mount Soputan volcano erupting as seen from Pinabetengan in southeast Minahasa in North Sulawesi Province on December 16, 2018.
AFP

An earthquake with a 6.2 magnitude occurred about 168 km (101 miles) south-southwest of the town of Jayapura, Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Sunday.

The USGS first reported the earthquake at a 6.1 magnitude at a distance of 174 km from Jayapura. 

 A volcano in central Indonesia has erupted an hour prior, ejecting columns of thick ash as high as 7,500 meters (24,606 feet) into the sky.

Read more: Indonesia Earthquake Liquefied the Ground, How Did That Happen?

Mount Soputan, located on the northern part of Sulawesi island, erupted twice Sunday morning, said the national disaster agency’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

He said in anticipation of hot ash and lava sliding down the volcano’s slopes, local residents have been urged to avoid activities near the mountain.

Residents were also warned against the possible flowing of lava into rivers around the volcano, and urged to wear masks in case of ash rain.

Authorities kept the volcano’s alert level at the second-highest level.

Soputan, which stands 1,784 meters (5,853 feet) tall, is one of Indonesia’s more than 120 active volcanoes.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 260 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”