A 7.4 earthquake has struck 138km kilometres northwest of Kota Ternate in Indonesia’s Molucca islands, the US Geological Survey said.

Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami alert, Reuters reported.

The quake struck at 11.17pm local time and was measured at 62 km deep, USGS said.

Residents were fleeing their homes to higher ground but there were no immediate reports of damage in Ternate, the largest city in the area, according to Metro TV news broadcaster.

It was followed by a 4.8 aftershock in the same area.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami. /radionz