MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE STRIKES OFF THE SUMATRA COAST

posted by / News / March 28, 2005

Tsunami alerts follow 8.2 quake near SumatraHours after quake, no tsunami – locals still frightenedA large earthquake was registered Monday off Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, news that prompted an immediate tsunami warning by another U.S. agency.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.2, “had the potential to generate a widely destructive tsunami in the ocean or seas near the earthquake,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned. It advised “immediate action” including “evacuation of coasts within a thousand kilometers ({{{600}}} miles) of the epicenter and close monitoring to determine the need for evacuation further away.”

But fears of another disaster of similar magnitude eased within hours, as officials in countries closest to the quake’s epicenter said they had received no reports of waves striking their coasts three hours after the earthquake hit.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that the quake had caused a small tsunami in the Cocos islands, to the south of the epicenter of the quake.

“There has been no major tsunami observed near the epicenter,” the Tsunami Center said. “There was however a small tsunami observed on the Cocos tide gauge.”

A Tsunami Center official, Robert Cessaro, of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center told CNN the quake was likely to have directed any tsunami waves to the south in the direction of Mauritius.

He said the massive quake that struck the region on Dec. 26 was now known to have directed most of its energy toward the north and that had relieved the underground stresses in that direction.

The latest quake was believed to have sent its main energy in the opposite direction, toward the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, he said.

“I think it’s very likely that it produced a tsunami but we don’t have any information about it because we don’t have any water level gauges in that area. But something this size is likely to have produced a tsunami,” Cessaro said.

Earlier, tsunami warnings were issued in Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had warned the quake “has the potential to generate a widely destructive tsunami in the ocean or seas near the earthquake,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned. It advised “evacuation of coasts within a thousand kilometers (600 miles) of the epicenter.”

SURFINGthemag.com will update when more information becomes available.

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