7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A large earthquake, measured by the US Geological Survey as having a magnitude of 7.2, struck near Sumatra, Indonesia earlier today.

The epicentre was 215 kilometres (130 miles) south-southeast of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, and 630 kilometres (390 miles) west of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, at a depth of 45 kilometres (28 miles), the USGS reports. The tremors started at about 13.00 local time (05.59 UTC). A local tsunami alert was made by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but rescinded about an hour and a half later.

"Sea level readings indicate that a significant tsunami was not generated. Therefore, the tsunami watch issued by this center is now cancelled," the PTWC said in a statement on its website.

The Associated Press news agency quotes local media as saying some power lines were knocked down and some buildings damaged.

The epicentre of the temblor is near that of 2004's magnitude 9.2 earthquake, which generated a large tsunami and killed around 170,000 people. Indonesia is on a very tectonically active part of the world, the Ring of Fire, and experiences earthquakes frequently.