Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

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

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot"

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci said Friday that he "absolutely" will accept the offer from President-elect Joe Biden to serve as his chief medical adviser, telling NBC's "Today" that he said yes "right on the spot."

Why it matters: President Trump had a contentious relationship with Fauci, who has been forced during the pandemic to correct many of the president's false claims about the coronavirus. Biden, meanwhile, has emphasized the importance of "listening to the scientists" throughout his campaign and transition.