The seven-magnitude tremor struck 10 kilometres (six miles) underground, according to the US Geological Survey.It was followed by two light to moderate secondary quakes and nearly two dozen aftershocks.
Tremor was also felt in Bali
The powerful earthquake and strong aftershocks rocked Bali and Lombok island of Indonesia, causing thousands of people to rush out of their homes and take outdoor shelters.
The quake, which was 31 kilometres (19 miles) deep and near Loloan on the north end of Lombok, also triggered a brief tsunami warning.
The tremor was also felt in Bali to the west.
Second powerful temblor in Lombok
Most of the victims died in northern Lombok, informed Haji Rum, head of the West Nusa Tenggara Disaster Management Agency.
The natural disaster, which was the second powerful temblor in Lombok in a week, hit the island in the evening after the sunset.
File photo: Earthquake
Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth
All the landline and cell phone services have been reported down in Lombok's Tanjung town, which is nearest to the epicentre.
Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and many of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.