An earthquake of magnitude 8.7 was felt off Sumatra. A tsunami warning was triggered, but the tsunami would not be very important. Countries of the Indian Ocean, however, take precautions.
The U.S. Centers of the Pacific tsunami warning lifted an alert across the Indian Ocean.
Minutes after the earthquake, the Center noted however that "earthquakes of this magnitude have the potential to generate tsunamis pests that can affect coastlines across the Indian Ocean basin."
The earthquake occurred at 8:38 GMT (10:38 CET), to 33 km deep and about 430 miles southwest of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, said the American Institute of Geophysics ( USGS). The quake was felt particularly in Singapore, Thailand and India. A severe aftershock measuring 8.2 occurred Wednesday off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a few hours after the first earthquake of 8.6, said the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS). The answer came at 10:43 GMT at a depth of only 16 km and 615 km from Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, the USGS said.
A wave of a few centimeters
The tsunami watch center said later that the total height of the wave was 35 cm, an increase of sea level of 17 cm. "It does not seem to be it a major tsunami," said Victor Sardina had, a geophysicist at the center based in Hawaii. "But we remain vigilant because tsunamis come in waves."
Thai authorities said a 10-centimeter wave had hit only one island of the west coast. "We can not be complacent," estimated television director of the National Disaster Management, Somsak Khaosuwan, referring in particular to large aftershocks after the initial quake. The wave hit the island of Koh Miang, off Phan Nga, he said.
Waves as high as 80 centimeters but would hit parts of Indonesia.
The ribs removed
The Indonesian president has quickly sought reassurance. He said no tsunami threat was effective, although an alert had been launched in six provinces in Indonesia. The airport was notably Pukhet closed.
Thai authorities issued a tsunami warning and asked the people living on the Andaman Sea coast to evacuate. "People who live on the Andaman coast have to travel in heights and stay as far away as possible from the sea", and launched the National Center for Disaster Management.
The Sri Lankan government also feared a surge of waves on the eastern coast of the island. "There is a high probability of a tsunami affects the island after the earthquake in Indonesia," said the deputy director of the Meteorological Department, MD Dayananda. The quake was felt in Sri Lanka, located about 1340 km northwest of the epicenter, he said.
India has also launched a tsunami warning for Andaman and Nicobar Islands. India then extended its tsunami warning for several coastal states after a previous red alert issued for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Indian Ocean. The states of Orissa and West Bengal (east), Kerala and Goa (south) were placed under surveillance, following the states of Tamil Nadu (south) and Andhra Pradesh (South East) .
Kenya has issued a tsunami warning Wednesday over its entire coast after the earthquake that hit Indonesia earlier, deciding to close schools and asking people to move away from the beaches. The tsunami could hit the Kenyan coast at around 20h00 (19h CET), said Minister for Special Programmes Esther Murugi during a press conference.
A tsunami alert level orange, that is to say average, was triggered in the French island of Reunion. The representative of the French State, the Prefect Michel Lalande, declared a warning in this Indian Ocean island.
Scenes of panic and bad memories
The earthquake triggered scenes of panic in the affected countries. The American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) and his Indonesian counterpart had first estimated the magnitude at 8.9.
Aceh, located at the western tip of the Indonesian archipelago, was devastated in December 2004 by an earthquake followed by tsunami. This double disaster left about 230,000 dead in 13 countries around the Indian Ocean, including nearly 170,000 in Aceh province alone.
A region frequently affected
Guests of the RTBF television news on Wednesday afternoon, Thierry Camelbeek, a seismologist with the Royal Observatory of Belgium, said the main difference from the earthquake of 2004 is that the plate motions land was more horizontal that verticals. "But if the wave is 17 inches at sea, this means that it will increase in amplitude" in approaching the coast, he said. Immediately stating that it should nevertheless not exceed 2 meters high in places.
The seismologist also indicated that this region of the globe was particularly prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. "We are in a region bordering oceans where oceanic crust dives beneath continental areas at closing speeds sometimes amounting to several centimeters per year."