Magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes off Indonesia coast

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A shake map of the earthquake

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, at 9:42 p.m. local time (14:42 UTC). The quake prompted a tsunami warning, which was later canceled.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the epicenter of the earthquake at 12.8 miles (20.6 kilometres) deep and approximately 150 miles (240 kilometres) from Bengkulu, Sumatra. It was felt by residents of Sumatra as well as Singapore, but no damage or casualties were reported. "There was shaking that went on for about three seconds or so. Residents panicked and ran to the hills but now they are starting to come down," said Priyadi Kardono, a spokesperson for the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management.

Sofyan Alawi, who felt the quake in Padang, Sumatra, said, "Everyone was running out of their houses." Alawi also said that tsunami warning alarms were going off and that roads were congested with fleeing residents. Ade Syahputra, who was also in Padang, said, "We kept looking back to see if a wave was coming." The areas most affected by the quake are not heavily populated.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch in response to the earthquake, but it was later lifted. The magnitude of the earthquake was first reported by the USGS as 7.5 MW, but the agency later revised their measurement, reporting it as 7.7 MW.

Several aftershocks hit the same area, near the Mentawai Islands. A magnitude 5.0 quake followed less than one hour after the original, and a magnitude 6.1 aftershock struck around four hours later.