Major Earthquake, Sumatra

A major earthquake struck near Padang, Sumatra this evening, New Zealand time. The magnitude 7.3 quake was shallow and triggered a small tsunami wave.

The magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck at 9:37 p.m. on Monday 25th February 2008 N.Z. Daylight Time at a depth of 35 km. It was located 160 km south-south-west of Padang, Sumatra, 295 km west-north-west of Bengkulu.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) estimated the quake at magnitude 7.1 and issued a tsunami watch for the Indonesia area, expecting that any tsunami wave would have been detected at the sparse monitoring stations within an hour of the event.

In a bulletin issued at 11:09 p.m. New Zealand Daylight Time, the PTWC announced that a small tsunami wave had been generated, but was measured at only 12 cm at the Padang wave gauge. The bulletin cancelled the tsunami watch for Indonesia, but noted that the wave may have been destructive along coasts near to the earthquake epicentre.

The US Geological Survey has since revised its estimate of the quake down to magnitude 7.0, and a preliminary report just in from Geoscience Australia reports the quake as magnitude 6.9.

The earthquake follows a magnitude 6.4 quake in the area at 3:46 this morning NZ Daylight Time and a shallow magnitude 7.4 earthquake on Wednesday February 20th.

[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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