Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Earthquake hits Northern Sumatra!

Mack Zulkifli has set up #quakeblogs at Dalnet to coordinate information. Come join in!

Update 7 : 2 aftershocks measuring 6.0 and 6.7 has been reported by the USGS!

Update 8 : CNN reports that 50 people has died on the island of Nias, near the epicenter of a massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia!

(CNN) -- U.S. officials were urging residents to evacuate coastal regions in the Indian Ocean after a earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off the coast of Indonesia Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration urged residents within 1,000 kilometers of the epicenter to evacuate coastal regions.

The quake was centered on the same fault line where a December 26 earthquake launched a tsunami that killed at least 175,000 people.

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 203 kilometers (126 miles) from Sibolga on Sumatra Island, would cause a tsunami.

Experts agreed the quake was massive.

"This earthquake has the potential to generate a widely destructive tsunami in the ocean or seas near the earthquake," NOAA said in a statement on its Web site. "Authorities in those regions should be aware of this possibility and take immediate action."

Asked whether evacuations are taking place, USGS spokesman Don Blakeman said, "I certainly hope so."

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.

USGS spokesman Doug Blake said there had been no reports of tsunami activity nearly 90 minutes after the quake struck.

"We're still waiting for any kind of reports," he said.

"At this point in time we don't know what type of fault occurred ... and that is critical information we just don't have yet," he said. "It is in the aftershock zone of the December 26 quake. It's a little bit south, but it's on the same fault."

The quake occurred at 11:09 a.m. ET (1609 GMT), and is considered a "great" earthquake, the largest of seven grades.

The grades are very minor, minor, light, moderate, strong, major and great.

Tsunamis are distinguished from normal coastal surf by their great length and speed. A single wave in a tsunami series might be 160 kilometers (100 miles) long and race across the ocean at 960 kph (600 mph).

When it approaches a coastline, the wave slows dramatically, but it also rises to great heights because the enormous volume of water piles up in shallow coastal bays.

The December 26 quake, measured at magnitude 9, triggered a massive tsunami that devastated Asian and African coastlines in nearly a dozen nations.

Source from : USGS & CNN

Update : 8.2 was measured by USGS, Indonesia Meteorologists have measured 8.5!!!

Update 2 : BBC has the news up too! Huge quake hits Indonesian coast

Update 3 : Also, talk about the earthquake with other Malaysian bloggers at Malaysia Bloggers Forum.

Update 4 : Channel News Asia has the news up!

Update 5 : CNN reports that IF there is a Tsunami, it could reach Sri Lanka's shore in about 3 hours!!

Update 6 : USGS has reported that the magnitude of the quake is 8.7!!

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