Earthquake hits Sumatra days after deadly tremor


Sun, Jul 07, 2013 - Page 4

A strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake yesterday struck off Indonesia’s Sumatra, US seismologists said, just days after a tremor on the vast island killed dozens and left thousands homeless.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no reports of damage after the quake struck at a shallow depth of 23km off the southwest coast of the vast island, the US Geological Survey said.

US seismologists initially said it was a magnitude 6.4 quake, then revised it down to a 6.0 quake. The epicenter was close to the remote archipelago of Mentawai.

In 2010, a magnitude 7.7 quake triggered a tsunami that left more than 400 people dead on the island chain.

Suharjono, an official from the local meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency who goes by one name, said yesterday’s quake was unlikely to have caused damage and there was no threat of a tsunami.

“Judging from the quake’s magnitude and the distance from the epicenter to the land, I don’t think the quake will have a significant impact,” he said.

“There’s little potential to cause damage,” the official said, adding that it was felt mildly by people in two provinces on Sumatra.

Hardimansyah Maitam, a local maritime patrol officer, said residents in Sikakap Town on North Pagai, an island in the Mentawai chain, poured into the streets and ran to higher ground when the quake struck.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami alert.

The quake came after a magnitude 6.1 inland tremor on Tuesday struck Aceh, on Sumatra’s northern tip, flattening buildings and sparking landslides in the mountainous interior of the natural disaster-prone province.

So far 35 people have been confirmed dead from Tuesday’s quake and about 16,000 left homeless, the national disaster agency said.

In 2004, a quake-triggered tsunami left more than 170,000 people dead in Aceh, as well as tens of thousands more in countries around the Indian Ocean. Indonesia, like Taiwan, sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.