7.9 earthquake hit indonesia today...Tsunami coming?

Jun 30, 2005
outsiddah Boston
Magnitude 7.9 Quake Hits Indonesia's Sumatra Island (Update2)

By Claire Leow and Karima Anjani

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the coast of Indonesia's Bengkulu province on Sumatra island at 6:10 p.m. local time, Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said in a mobile-phone text message.

The earthquake hit at a depth of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning. Buildings in Jakarta and as far as Singapore's central business district shook, forcing some workers to evacuate their offices.

Japan issued a tsunami warning for all countries bordering the Indian Ocean. A 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Aceh on the island of Sumatra in December 2004 caused a tsunami that devastated coastal communities in countries across the Indian Ocean, leaving more than 220,000 people dead.

``There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage,'' Budi Darmawan, police chief at Muko Muko area in Bengkulu said in an interview with El Shinta radio. ``People are focusing on their safety now.''

While there's a ``possibility'' of a tsunami on the northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia, no such waves have been detected, said Rosaidi Che Abas, director of seismology at the Meteorological Services department in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur. The earthquake sent tremors across most of south Malaysia, he said.

Communication with areas closest to the earthquake's epicenter have been disrupted, Rustam S. Pakaya, head of crisis management at Indonesia's Health Ministry, said by telephone. ``It's very possible the quake caused damage,'' he said.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago located on the so-called Pacific ``Ring of Fire,'' an arc of volcanoes and geologic fault lines surrounding the Pacific Basin. The archipelago lies in a zone where four tectonic plates meet. These plates constantly shift, sometimes causing earthquakes, some of them sparking tsunamis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karima Anjani in Jakarta at kanjani@bloomberg.net