BREAKING: According to the third Tsunami Bulletin released by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, “sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated” and that “it may already have been destructive along some coasts.”
BREAKING: A second but much stronger aftershock of 8.3 struck several hours after the original quake, 617 kilometres south-south west from Banda Aceh.
An 8.7 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, reports the U.S. Geological Survey.
The quake struck at 08:38:38 UTC, or 02:38:38 PM at the epicenter, some 33 kilometres beneath seafloor of the Indian Ocean and was felt as far away as Bangkok in Thailand and southern India.
The quake was 434 kilometres southwest of Banda Aceh in Sumatra, an Indonesian Island in the west of the country.
A tsunami warning was immediately initiated for the entirety of the Indian Ocean, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The Tsunami watch was in place for 28 countries, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma and Thailand, though experts from the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre believe that Australia is not currently at risk.
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.”
According to Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency, a 6.5 magnitude aftershock rumbled through off the coast shortly after the main quake.
2004 Boxing Day Repeat?
According to the United States Geological Survey, this new quake off the western coast of Sumatra is only a little smaller than the catastrophic quake that struck on Boxing Day of 2004, though it is a good extra 200 kilometres further out to sea.
“This is the third largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake,” they write.
The 2004 quake came in at 9.1 on the Richter scale, and saw 286,000 people killed and another 1.7 million displaced as a result of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami
The similarities between the 2004 earthquake and this latest one are eerily similar, and we can only wait to find out whether a tsunami has been created as a result of this quake and it’s likely impact areas.
To keep up to date with latest developments there are a few sources you’ll want to keep an eye on;
- The USGS Summary Page
- The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Summary Page
- The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center
Also keep a look on Twitter and your local news stations for any further information.
For anyone along or around the Indian Ocean, please keep your eyes and ears tuned to your local radio and emergency stations. Specifically, you may want to check out the Indian Ocean Tsunami Alerter for Android.