April 11, 2012- A huge earthquake hit off the western coast of Indonesia on Wednesday and triggered fears of a tsunami throughout the Indian Ocean. Residents located in coastal cities throughout the region fled to higher ground via any transportation they could find.
The first quake had a magnitude of 8.6 with an epi-center about 20 miles beneath the ocean and 269 miles from the Aceh province coast. A strong aftershock just three hours later created another wave of panic amongst residents. Another tsunami warning, following the aftershock, was issued. Residents of the Aceh still hold memories of the devastating tsunami that hit in 2004 killing over 170,000 people.
Following the first quake, the Pacific Tsunami Center located in Hawaii issued a watch for India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Australia, the Maldives, Thailand, Somalia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Oman, Kenya, Bangladesh, Singapore and South Africa.
No serious tsunami damage was reported following the first warning, however, the aftershock of 8.2-magnitude cause renewed fears of a tsunami and another was issued accordingly. Geologists said the first quake was termed a “strike-slip” not a thrust. The strike slip moves the earth horizontally and therefore does not displace large amounts of water. The aftershock was still being analyzed to see if it was a thrust or strike slip.
High rises in Thailand, Bangladesh, Singapore and India shock from the first quake for nearly minute. No reports of the extent of the damage are available at this time.