Earthquake hits western Indonesia, no casualties

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JAKARTA, Oct 24 (Reuters) A strong earthquake struck western Indonesia in the Mentawi islands off Sumatra today, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, a meteorology official said.

The magnitude 6.0 quake struck just before 3 am (0130 hrs IST) at a depth of 35 km, with its epicentre 125 km southwest of the town of Padang, according to a bulletin on the Web site of the US Geological Survey.

An official at the Indonesian meteorological and geophysics centre said by telephone that the latest quake could be felt strongly in the area, but there had been no reports of damage or casualties. There was no tsunami warning issued.

The local agency put the quake at 6.1 on the Richter scale and at a shallower depth of 20 km.

The same area was hit by a more powerful quake of magnitude 8.4 last month that killed at least 25 people and toppled thousands of homes.

Indonesia suffers frequent earthquakes, located on an area of intense seismic activity on part of the ''Pacific Ring of Fire.'' Reuters AK VP0530

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