Strong 7.1 magnitude earthquake off Indonesia
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia on Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), forcing its inhabitants to take refuge in the heights before the alert tsunami has not been lifted.
The epicenter of the earthquake which occurred at 3 a.m. local time on Tuesday (8 p.m. GMT Monday) was detected near the coast of the Mentawai Islands at 3 p.m. .5 kilometers deep, said the US geological agency.
No casualties or significant damage were reported.
“The earthquake was so strong that we We had a hard time getting up and getting out,” says Patriz Sanene, a 34-year-old resident of Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai Islands. “We struggled to get out of the house, we had to cling to the walls.”
“It's the strongest earthquake (…) of this year. I thought there would probably be a tsunami. Thank God there was no tsunami,” he said.
The Indonesian Geophysical Agency (BMKG) issued a tsunami warning that lasted about two hours after having initially reported an earthquake of a higher magnitude.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', where tectonic plates enter in collision.
The deadliest earthquake in Indonesia, which occurred off the coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, killed more than 230,000 people as far away as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. It had caused gigantic waves, up to 30 meters high on the shore of Banda Aceh, in northern Sumatra. It was magnitude 9.1.