Indonesia Northern Sumatra TSUNAMI WARNING! 8.7 Magnitude EARTHQUAKE Hits INDONESIA
The undersea earthquake struck just after 2.30pm local time (6.38pm AEST) and at a depth of 33 kilometers.
The quake’s epicenter was located 431 kilometers southwest of Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra.
An Indian Ocean-wide tsunami watch was put in place immediately following the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The tsunami watch was in place for 28 countries, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma and Thailand.
The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.
A spokesman for the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: ”Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin.”
Amy Vaughn, from the USGS, told Sky News that experts were working to determine precisely where the earthquake occurred and how strong it was.
“With an earthquake of this magnitude … what happens is that basically a large body of water is disturbed by the movement of the fault,” she said.
“Being this close to the west coast of Sumatra, it could be devastating for the region.”
People living along India’s eastern coast were told to move away from the shore, Sky News reported.
Tremors were felt in the cities of Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
The Indian National Center for Ocean Information Service was quick to issue a red high-level warning for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Indian Ocean.
Lower alerts were issued for the coastlines of Andhra Tradesh and Tamil Nadu, in the country’s southeast.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.
A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on December 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, nearly three-quarters of them in Aceh.