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A resident is seen beside the collapsed brick wall of her house in Central Mamuju. Photo: Nurpadila/AFP via Getty Images

A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck northern Indonesia on Friday, northeast of the town of Donggala on the island of Sulawesi. The strongest quake was followed by a damaging tsunami in Palu, the provincial capital with a population of about 335,000.

The details: The earthquake has been followed by numerous strong aftershocks that are also capable of causing significant damage. Early reports from the region suggest widespread damage to homes, along with tsunami-related damage in Palu. Videos posted to Twitter showed onlookers watching as giant waves crashed ashore.

  • According to Reuters, the tsunami reached six meters, or about 18 feet, in height. At least 384 have been reported dead, with hundreds more injured or missing.
  • "The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed," Dwikorita Karnawati, who heads Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told Reuters. "There is a ship washed ashore."
  • Tsunamis are caused by the sudden displacement of the sea floor during a powerful quake, which can displace large amounts of water and send it sloshing toward shore, building in height as it approaches shallower depths.

The backdrop: Indonesia sits along the so-called "ring of fire" in the Pacific, making it vulnerable to earthquakes and other geological hazards.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include more information on the tsunami height and death toll.

Go deeper

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.

Mark Meadows sues Pelosi, Jan. 6 committee

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Nov. 18, 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all nine members of the Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move comes less than a day after the committee moved to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to cooperate with its investigation of the Capitol riots.

The four key moments from Instagram's Hill hearing

Adam Mosseri. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Instagram head Adam Mosseri testified before Senate lawmakers Wednesday and was pressed on the app's impacts on young children and teens.

Why it matters: Legislation to protect kids online is one area Congress has shown it's willing to regulate, as Axios previously reported. Wednesday's back-and-forth gave momentum to lawmakers eager to make more rules for social media platforms and how children and teens can use them.