Kendari`s Meteorology and Geophysics Office (BMKG) Chief Rosa Amalia remarked that the epicenter of the earthquake at 7.29 a.m Central Indonesia Standard Time (WITA) was located at 4.16 degrees Southern Latitude and 123.17 degrees Eastern Longitude, some 24 kilometers southeast of Langara at a depth of 32 kilometers.
But she said that until 9.15 am WITA there was no report of casualty and material damage, and thus, the local residents were called upon to stay calm.
The Indonesian archipelago experiences frequent earthquakes, as the country is located in an area of intense seismic activity where several tectonic plates collide.
Earlier on Thursday at 5:17 a.m. WITA, Ende District in East Nusa Tenggara Province was also hit by a 4.8-magnitude earthquake, according to local BMKG spokesman Hasanuddin.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located at 07.63 degrees Southern Latitude and 121.83 degrees Eastern Longitude, or some 116 kilometers (km) northeast of Ende.
Hasanuddin remarked that the Meteorology and Geophysics Office also recorded a 3.6-magnitude earthquake earlier at 1:24 a.m. WITA in East Manggarai.
Its epicenter was located at 8.18 degrees Southern Latitude and 120.56 degrees Eastern Longitude, 49 km northwest of East Manggarai District.
Geologist from Brigham Young University Professor Ron Harris had noted in Jakarta last Friday that Indonesia experiences at least one or two powerful earthquakes every year.
He made the statement based on the results of studies conducted by his team after collecting information on 500 historical records of earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia.
"Based on historical records since 1500, some one thousand powerful earthquakes and 1,300 volcanic eruptions have been recorded," he pointed out.
Harris stated that based on the earthquake cycle in Indonesia, there is a likelihood for several earthquakes to occur in the country now, as it is entering the awakening phase following the sleeping phase marked by small number of earthquakes.
Harris noted that historical records trace the pattern of earthquakes ranging from the sleeping phase in 1900 followed by the awakening phase in 1920 and back to the sleeping phase again in 1940. The awakening phase was thereafter observed in 1960 followed by the sleeping phase again in 1980 and the awakening phase in 2000.