8.2 Earthquake Hits Off Indonesia
CNN reports another massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia.
An earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off the coast of Indonesia Monday — on the same fault line that originated a December 26 earthquake that launched a deadly tsunami. The director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said scientists there feared another tsunami might hit the area. Charles McCreary said he could not be certain that the quake, which was 30 km deep and 203 kilometer (126 miles) from Sibolga on Sumatra Island, would cause a tsunami. “There is a potential for some wave activity,” said Julie Martinez, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center, in Golden, Colorado.
Thailand issued a warning that the quake could bring a tsunami to its southern provinces. The warning, which was carried on national television, cautioned people in the six provinces to be careful and vigilant, but did not order evacuations. The quake occurred at 11:09 a.m. ET (1609 GMT), and is considered a “great” earthquake, the largest of seven grades.
Update (1300): It’s apparently George Bush’s fault.
Update (1736): US Officials Upgrade Indonesia Earthquake to 8.7 Magnitude (Sci-Tech Today)
A massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia had a magnitude 8.7 and has a “100 percent” chance of spawning a tsunami in Asia, a US expert said. The quake, upgraded from an initial magnitude 8.2, is powerful enough to be “one of the four or five biggest earthquakes in the last century,” said Kerry Sieh, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Sieh told journalists at the USGS offices at the California Institute of Technology near Los Angeles that a tidal wave appeared certain to hit.
A massive 8.7 magnitude earthquake hit a small island off Indonesia’s Sumatra late on Monday, killing dozens of people, but fears across Asia of another huge tsunami soon receded, residents and officials said. The epicenter was very close to that of the Dec. 26 quake which triggered a tsunami that left nearly 300,000 people dead or missing across Asia. Monday’s earthquake killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of homes in Gunungsitoli, the main town on Indonesia’s Nias island, a local official told Metro TV.
“I can guarantee that dozens have died,” Agus Mendrofa, the deputy mayor of the town of about 30,000 people, said by telephone. “Gunungsitoli is now like a dead town. The situation here is in extreme panic.”
The quake, which struck close to or after midnight across the region, spread terror in western Indonesia, Sri Lanka and coastal parts of India, Malaysia and Thailand, the areas devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami.