updated 1/30/2008 8:50:27 AM ET 2008-01-30T13:50:27

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of East Timor on Wednesday, prompting authorities to briefly issue a tsunami alert — but no large waves hit the tiny nation's coast.

The 6.2 magnitude tremor struck 160 miles northeast of the capital, Dili, in Indonesia's Banda Sea at a depth of 6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Residents in the capital did not feel any shaking and there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics agency issued a tsunami alert, saying the quake had been powerful enough to generate giant waves. The warning was later retracted.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that became Asia's youngest country after breaking from Indonesia in 1999, sits along a series of faultlines and volcanos known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, including 160,000 people in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.

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