7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Nicobar Islands, India

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shakemap of the earthquake.
Image: USGS.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 7.7 magnitude earthquake near Nicobar Islands, India. The earthquake took place on Sunday at 01:26:35 local time (Saturday 19:26:35 UTC).

The earthquake had a depth of 35 kilometers, and the epicenter was located 150 kilometers at the west of Mohean, Nicobar Islands, 440 kilometers at the northwest of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, 1155 kilometers at the southwest of Bangkok, Thailand and 2790 kilometers at the southeast of New Delhi, India. It lasted for about 10–20 seconds.

India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia areas are being watched by the NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a destructive local tsunami and sometimes a destructive regional tsunami along coasts located usually no more than a thousand kilometers from the earthquake epicenter.

"Areas further from the epicenter could experience small sea level changes and strong or unusual coastal currents," the center reported.

They added, "It is not known that a tsunami was generated. This watch is based only on the earthquake evaluation. Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to this possibility. The watch will not expand to other areas of the Indian Ocean unless additional data are received to warrant such an expansion". Many residents in the area stayed out of their houses for over an hour, The Hindu reported.