Major Earthquake, Sumatra, Indonesia

A major earthquake struck near Banda Aceh, Sumatra this evening, New Zealand time. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake was located 310 km south-south-east of Banda Aceh, Sumatra at a depth of 34 km.

The quake, which struck at 9:09 p.m. New Zealand Daylight Time on Wednesday the 20th February 2008 did not generate a tsunami wave according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC). Initially a bulletin was issued by PTWC indicating that a wave might have been destructive locally, but this was withdrawn in a bulletin issued at 10:47 p.m. NZDT, when the deep ocean gauge off the northwest coast of Sumatra and the coastal gauge at Sabang failed to detect a disturbance.

Magnitude estimates of the quake will be adjusted after further analysis, with the US Geological Survey reporting the event as magnitude 7.5, the PTWC reporting the event as 7.2 and Geoscience Australia reporting the event as magnitude 7.2.

Only one aftershock has been reported during the past two hours, a magnitude 5.2 quake close to the main event. This quake is similar in size to a magnitude 5.3 quake which was recorded just after 6 o’clock this morning (New Zealand time) in the Kepulauan Mentawai region of Indonesia, off the coast of Sumatra to the south-east of this evening’s quake.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies; and the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.]

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