Strong earthquake strikes Indonesia's Java island

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A powerful earthquake caused buildings to sway in Indonesia's capital today, damaging buildings and prompting a regional tsunami alert, witnesses and media said.

The quake struck at 07.55 (GMT) on the southern coast of the main island of Java with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4. It had a depth of around 40 miles (60 kilometers), the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it was powerful enough to cause a local tsunami, but there were no immediate reports of high waves.

Buildings in Tasikmalaya, the town closest to the epicenter, were damaged, the news portal reported.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The shaking was strong around 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the epicenter in the capital, Jakarta, where panicked office workers ran outside onto the streets. It was not possible to immediately contact anyone in the quake area.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, straddles continental plates and is prone to seismic activity along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. A huge quake off western Indonesia caused a powerful tsunami in December 2004 that killed around 230,000 people in a dozen countries.