There were no immediate reports of damage, and geophysicists said there was little risk of a tsunami.
The quake, which struck at 12:04 a.m. (1:04 p.m. EDT Wednesday) had a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 and was centered about 65 miles east of Jakarta at a depth in the Earth of 180 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Residents said tall buildings and single story homes shook violently in the city of 9 million people, and water sloshed from swimming pools.
Many people were awakened by the quake and some people screamed "Allah akbar!" or "God is great!" as they ran outside.
El-Shinta radio reported that the quake could be felt from Sumatra island in the west to Bali to the east, but that there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake also was felt in parts of Malaysia, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.
None of the instruments closest to the earthquake indicated that a tsunami was triggered, said Robert Cessaro, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. He added that there were no instruments "very close" to the quake's epicenter.
"Because this earthquake was so far below the ocean bottom, it didn't trigger a tsunami or cause a lot of damage," said John Bellini, another USGS geophysicist.
The Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake that triggered the tsunami off the coast of Sumatra and killed more than 131,000 in Indonesia's Ache province was only 18 miles deep, according to the USGS.
"The earthquake center in 2004 was close enough that it actually ruptured the surface of the sea floor, which caused a tsunami," Bellini said. "This one was felt by people on the ground, and it shook buildings, but it was too deep to cause the ocean bottom to move."
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
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