TIRANA, Albania -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 struck off northern Albania on Saturday, damaging some buildings, authorities said.

Albania's Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment reported that the quake occurred at 5:38 p.m. (1538 GMT) some 40 kilometres (24 miles) north of the capital, Tirana. It said the quake hit at a depth of 24 kilometres (15 miles) near the town of Bulqize.

Some buildings in Bulqize reported cracks. The quake was felt strongly in Tirana and most of the country, as well as in neighbouring Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia. It was followed by 15 aftershocks.

The U.S. Geological survey estimated its depth at 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) in a preliminary report.

Albania, just north of Greece, is in an earthquake-prone area that sees quakes every few days, though most are not felt. Another quake of the same magnitude struck western Albania five weeks ago, causing only slight damages.