M8 Earthquake Stirs Tsunami Fears, but No Catastrophe

Update: 4:24 p.m. EDT

NU Online News Service, April 11, 12:37 p.m. EDT

An earthquake registering magnitude 8.6 struck off the Northern coast of Sumatra, stirring tsunami fears, but the incident appears to have produced little significant damage.

At around 2:38 p.m. local time, an earthquake rattled Indonesia, followed by a magnitude 8.2 after shock that sent tsunami warnings throughout the Indian Ocean region.

Scientists say the quakes were not conducive to causing tsunami. Hours later officials began to drop the warnings.

However, reports say panic drove many to higher ground as many residents still remembered the Sept. 30, 2009 magnitude 7.5 earthquake that caused a tsunami and would eventually take more than 1,000 lives.

Risk Management Services says that there were few initial reports of damage.

Catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide issued a statement late in the day saying that buildings in the affected region "have an irregular floor shape." This shape, along with poor construction practices and little code enforcement increase the susceptibility of office buildings and other commercial constrction.

That said, AIR says that due to the location of the quake there is not expected to be "significant insured losses from this event." 

The earthquake was located 269 miles southwest of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia and 598 miles west of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a depth of 20.5 miles (33 km).

This story was updated at 4:24 p.m. with comments from AIR Worldwide. 

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