News

Tsunami Watch Canceled After Huge Quake Off Indonesian Coast

Indonesia Earthquake locator map

Indonesia Quake Ranks Among World's Largest

Here is the list of the world's 10 biggest earthquakes according to the U.S. Geological Survey:

  • 1960: Chile - M 9.5
  • 1964: Prince William Sound, Alaska - M 9.2
  • 2004: Sumatra-Andaman Islands - M 9.1
  • 2011: Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan - M 9.0
  • 1952: Kamchatka - M 9.0
  • 1868: Arica, Peru (now Chile) - M 9.0
  • 1700: Cascadia Subduction Zone - M 9.0
  • 2010: Offshore Bio-Bio, Chile - M 8.8
  • 1906: Off the Coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador - M 8.8
  • 1965: Rat Islands, Alaska - M 8.7
  • Wednesday's quake was at roughly the same depth as the 2004 Indian Ocean quake. It reportedly rattled buildings as far away as Singapore, Thailand, and India.

Officials have canceled a tsunami watch in the Indian Ocean region, hours after an 8.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the northwestern coast of Indonesia.

The quake hit Wednesday about 430 kilometers southwest of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, at an estimated depth of 22 kilometers. An 8.2-magnitude aftershock was reported by the U.S. Geological Survey about two hours after the initial earthquake. 

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center originally issued a tsunami watch for several countries in the region after the quake. But it says local authorities can now assume the threat has passed since sea level readings indicate the danger has diminished or is over for most areas.

A seismology expert said the earthquake's movement was horizontal rather than vertical, creating less risk of a large displacement of water needed to trigger a tsunami.

People on motorcycles rush to higher ground after earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia, April 11, 2012(VOA Photo - Budi Nahaba)
People on motorcycles rush to higher ground after earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia, April 11, 2012. (VOA Photo - Budi Nahaba)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the situation is "under control" in Aceh and there is no immediate threat from a tsunami.

No casualties have been reported so far from the quake, which sent citizens in Aceh scurrying out of buildings and into the crowded streets.

Aceh was the worst-effected area by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that was triggered by a 9.1-magnitude quake. That tsunami killed an estimated 230,000 people, about half of them in Aceh province.

Preacher Salman Iqbal leads post-earthquake prayer in Ulee Kareng, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, April 11, 2012
Preacher Salman Iqbal leads post-earthquake prayer in Ulee Kareng, Banda Aceh, April 11, 2012. (VOA Photo - Budi Nahaba)

Sutopo Nugroho from Indonesia's National Disaster Agency says the country's warning system has improved since then.   “The early warning system in Aceh and Padang and west of coast of Sumatra is already well done, and we have already give(n) instruction to mosques and church(es) to give information to the people," he said.

Video footage from Indonesia

Wednesday's quake was at approximately the same depth as the 2004 Indian Ocean quake. It reportedly rattled buildings as far away as Singapore, Thailand, and India. Officials issued coastal evacuation orders throughout the region, and authorities scrambled to evacuate beaches.

Somchai, the general manager of the Centara Beach Resort on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand, told VOA that while government sirens came late, his resort was prepared.

"We directly called the guests to the room. For all of them. And we put the warning alarm so they can hear everywhere in the hotel. And now our guests, most of them, [have] come up to the meeting point," Somchai said.

If early projections do not change, Wednesday's quake would be tied for the ninth largest since 1900.

The massive quake that devastated coastal northeastern Japan last year was a magnitude 9.0 and killed around 19,000 people.

Photo Gallery

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: siju
April 13, 2012 6:12 AM
i 2 pray 4r all of you be safe be alert 4r warning hope god wont take more lives like 2004 try to good do good thing 4r poor and needful be prepared 4r your judgement

by: Dr.Ravinder Naik Banoth
April 12, 2012 11:38 PM
I wish all the people of Aceh and elsewhere in Indonesia and across the globe to be prepared for any eventuvality and may minimise load to the earth and to have minimum comforts and do all possible things which can minimise global warming and wishing all best of luck.

by: emma-antero
April 11, 2012 1:04 PM
praying praying again & again for all of you

by: Donovanh
April 11, 2012 7:54 AM
We are praying for all of you...be safe

by: Sai Nagesh
April 11, 2012 2:53 AM
Very sad. I sincerely pray that there is no loss of lives and that the whole thing subsides fast.

by: Sai Nagesh
April 11, 2012 2:52 AM
Very sad. I sincerely pray that there is no loss of lives and that the whole thing subsides fast.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs