Massive 8.6 earthquake hits Indonesia; tremors in India

A massive earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter Scale hit Indonesia’s Sumatra Islands on Wednesday forcing the authorities to issue a Tsunami alert.

Zeenews Bureau

Jakarta: A massive earthquake hit the westernmost Aceh province in Indonesia’s Sumatra Islands on Wednesday forcing the authorities to issue a Tsunami alert.

According to reports, the magnitude of the earthquake was earlier reported to be 8.9 on the Richter Scale.

However, it was later revised to 8.6 by the US Geological Survey.

The US Geological Survey said that the quake was centred 33 kilometres beneath the ocean floor around 495 kilometres from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, which was also felt in Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India and the surrounding region.

"Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin," the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

Though the US tsunami warning center advised local authorities to take "appropriate action", the chances of the Indonesian earthquake triggering a devastating tsunami is very unlikely.

Following the massive earthquake, a tsunami alert was issued in as many as 28 countries.
However, there are no immediate reports of any casualty or large scale destruction of the property in Indonesia and surrounding areas. As a precautionary measure, the Phuket Airport in Thailand was closed and metro services were halted in Singapore.

In India, the tremors of the high intensity quake were also felt in the northeastern and other regions of the country including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Manipur.

The Indian government has also issued a tsunami alert for Nicobar Islands following massive earthquake off Sumatra coast. Consequently, the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman Islands have been put on alert following Sumatra quake.
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 quarter of them in Aceh.

Last year, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, killing some 19,000 people.

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