Powerful Quakes Strike Along Pacific's 'Ring of Fire'

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It's been a shaky 24 hours along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," with major earthquakes in Japan and Indonesia prompting tsunami warnings and an earlier quake causing landslides in Chile.

The earthquake Thursday in northeastern Indonesia had a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 and struck 55 miles beneath the Molucca Sea, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Residents in Manado, a city on Sulawesi island around 180 miles from the epicenter, fled their homes as the earth rumbled beneath them.

"We haven't reported any casualties or damage yet," said Jimmy Rimba Rogi, the city's mayor, adding that people along the coast, well prepared for tsunamis, also ran inland. "But we're still monitoring."

The earthquake that hit Thursday morning in northern Japan registered a magnitude of 7, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The agency said the quake hit off the eastern coast Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, at a depth of about 12 miles.

National broadcaster NHK showed footage of the coastal area, but there did not appear to be any damage. The report said the force of the quake had not broken windows or knocked items from shelves.

And in Chile's northernmost province of Tarapaca, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake Wednesday caused landslides that blocked highways but no immediate reports of victims or major damage.

The Seismological Institute of the University of Chile said the quake was centered near the town of Pica, outside the coastal city of Iquique. It was felt hundreds of miles away.

The regions are prone to seismic upheaval due to their locations on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake off Indonesia's Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that battered much of the Indian Ocean coastline and killed more than 230,000 people — 131,000 of them in Indonesia's Aceh province alone.

A tsunami off Java island last year killed nearly 5,000.