Tsunami warning lifted after 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes off Indonesia

By Andrew V. Pestano and Doug G. Ware  |  March 2, 2016 at 9:28 AM
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JAKARTA, March 2 (UPI) -- A major 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of western Indonesia's Sumatra region on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami warning.

The nearest city from the epicenter of the quake was Muara Siberut, about 409 miles away. Indonesian officials issued tsunami warnings for the West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh regions, but those warnings were later lifted by Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency, or BNPB.

"There will probably be no tsunami," BPNB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a phone interview with Kompas TV.

Australian officials also issued a tsunami warning for Cocos Island and Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean and issued a watch for the western coast of Australia, including Perth. The country's Bureau of Meteorology warned people to "get out of the water" and to stay away from the water's edge.

The earthquake struck at 6:49 p.m., local time (12:49 GMT), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

"The plate boundary southwest of Sumatra is part of a long tectonic collision zone that extends over 8000 km from Papua in the east to the Himalayan front in the west," the USGS said in a statement. "The Sumatra-Andaman portion of the collision zone forms a subduction zone megathrust plate boundary, the Sunda-Java trench, which accommodates convergence between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates. This convergence is responsible for the intense seismicity and volcanism in Sumatra."

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