Huge quake off Indonesia prompts tsunami warnings

April 11th, 2012 - 5:14 pm ICT by BNO News  

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — A major earthquake struck off the west coast of northern Sumatra on early Wednesday afternoon, seismologists said, prompting tsunami warnings for multiple countries.

The 8.7-magnitude earthquake at 2:38 p.m. local time (0838 GMT) was centered about 434 kilometers (269 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra. It struck about 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

It was not immediately known if a tsunami was generated, but authorities in Indonesia immediately issued a tsunami warning for local coastlines as a precaution. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a warning, but issued an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami watch until it is known if a tsunami is generated.

“Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin. “However - it is now known that a tsunami was generated. This watch is based only on the earthquake evaluation.”

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