Magnitude 6.2 earthquake hits off west coast of Sumatra, no tsunami alert


JAKARTA: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island early Monday (Jan 16), the US Geological Survey reported.

The epicentre of the quake was 48km south-southeast of the city of Singkil in Aceh province, at a depth of 37km, USGS said.

It occurred at around 6:30 am local time (2230 GMT), and USGS revised it up from its initial measurement at 6.0 magnitude with a depth of 48km depth.

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) also put it at 6.2 and said there was no threat of a tsunami, while the country's disaster agency said there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

"The earthquake caused people to panic. It was felt between 3-10 seconds in four districts in Aceh and North Sumatra province," Abdul Muhari, a spokesman for the BNPB disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

On Nov 21, a 5.6-magnitude quake hit the populous West Java province on the main island of Java, killing 602 people.

Most of the victims were killed as buildings collapsed or landslides were triggered.

One of Sumatra island's deadliest quakes occurred on December 26, 2004, setting off an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people including victims as far away as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

That powerful 9.1-magnitude quake triggered 30m waves that hit the shore of Banda Aceh on Sumatra. - AFP

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