Tsunami Warning Update: Latest News from Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC)
NOAA’s National Weather Service
Latest Update – Tsunami Warning: 13:00 GMT/01:00 EST – April 11, 2012
Warning Level: LOW
A powerful 8.6 magnitude earthquake and strong aftershocks struck off Indonesia on Wednesday, sending people as far away as southern India scurrying from buildings and raising fears of a disastrous tsunami as in 2004.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Aceh, the Indonesian province closest to the initial earthquake. But an aftershock of almost the same magnitude, less deep that the first quake, hit soon after he finished speaking.
The first quake struck at 0838 GMT and an 8.2 magnitude aftershock just over two hours later, at 1043 GMT. Two more strong aftershocks hit later.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued fresh tsunami warnings for the entire Indian Ocean after the aftershocks. Authorities in Indonesia said there were reports of sea-levels rising off Aceh, but by less than a metre (3.3 feet).
But authorities in India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, to the north of where the quakes struck, said waves of up to 3.9 metres (13 feet) could hit there.
Individual countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, issued their own tsunami warnings and people near the coast in six Thai provinces were ordered to move to higher ground. Authorities shut down the international airport in the Thai beach resort province of Phuket.
The quakes were about 300 miles (500 km) southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the U.S. Geological survey said. The first was at a depth of 20.5 miles (33 km).
An Indian Ocean tsunami alert is in place after two huge quakes off the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province.
A quake with a magnitude of 8.6 triggered the initial warning, which was renewed after another quake a few hours later measuring 8.3.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has advised national authorities across the Indian Ocean region to “take appropriate action”.
But there have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The region is regularly hit by earthquakes. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed 170,000 people in Aceh alone and some 250,000 around the region.
The US Geological Survey (USGS), which documents quakes worldwide, said the first Aceh quake was centred at a depth of 33km (20 miles), about 495km from Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.