A Tsunami warning is in effect for nations around the Indian Ocean, after a magnitude 8.7 earthquake struck Indonesia on Wednesday.
A massive earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday afternoon, triggering a tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean.
The quake struck about 434 kilometers (270 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, and had a magnitude of 8.6, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It took place at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles).
A second quake, magnitude 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 were no immediate reports of destruction or deaths Wednesday.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on local television that there were no reports of casualties or damage in Aceh.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the entire Indian Ocean, and the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said it had put up a tsunami warning as well.
Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated, the warning center said. "It may already have been destructive along some coasts."
8.7 quake strikes off Indonesia
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-8.7 quake was centered 20 miles beneath the ocean floor around 269 miles from Aceh's provincial capital.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami watch was in effect for Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.
A tsunami watch means there is the potential for a tsunami, not that one is imminent.
Said, an official at Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency who goes by only one name, said a tsunami warning has been issued for cities all along the coast of Sumatra island.
There was chaos in the streets, with fierce shaking continuing for nearly four minutes.
"I was in the shower on the fifth floor of my hotel," Timbang Pangaribuan told El Shinta radio from the city of Medan. "We all ran out. ... We're all standing outside now."
He said one guest was injured when he jumped from the window of his room.
The tremor was felt in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia's west coast shook for at least a minute.
Thailand's National Disaster Warning Center issued an evacuation order to residents in six provinces along the country's west coast, including the popular tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.
In: World News
Tags: Indonesia, Earthquake, Earthquake Tsunami, Tsunami alert, 8.7, magnitude, quake, strikes off, powerful, earth quake, Indian ocean, aftershock, huge, quake aftermath, destruction, death
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