Earthquake Off Indonesia’s Aceh Province Triggers Tsunami Warning
The huge earthquake of the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra has been downgraded by the U.S. Geological Survey to a magnitude of 8.6. It’s still massive enough to have triggered a tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean. The quake hit 14-miles under the sea, off Indonesia’s northern province. Earlier reports had the magnitude at 8.7 and 8.9.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been produced, but says authorities should “take appropriate action.” The quake appears to have involved a horizontal movement rather than vertical, making it less likely it will generate a tsunami. Still, people living in Banda Aceh have moved to higher ground. The temblor was in the same area as the deadly December 26, 2004 quake of 9.1 that produced an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
A second large quake, with a magnitude of 8.2, occurred off the west coast of Sumatra about two hours later, the USGS said.
Gary Gibson from the Seismology Research Center in Melbourne, Australia, said the location of the second quake reduces the possibility of a tsunami.
There was also a series of smaller quakes off the west coast of northern Sumatra with magnitudes between 5.1 and 5.4.
There were no immediate reports of destruction or deaths.