Oct 012009

A strong earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale rocked Sumatra at 5.16 pm Western Indonesian Standard Time.The earthquake occurred at 5.16 pm with its epicenter in West Sumatra at 0.84 degrees southern latitude, 99.65 degrees eastern longitude at a depth of 71 km below sea level.It was about 78 km northwest of West Sumatra`s provincial city of Padang, 99 km southwest of Bukit Tinggi or 106 km northeast of Mentawai Islands.

A regional tsunami warning was issued, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and Japan’s meteorological agency said.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, in the US state of Hawaii, said:

"Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a few hundred kilometres of the earthquake epicentre."

It was unclear if there were any casualties.

Indonesia is situated in a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire". Padang sits right in front of the area with the greatest potential for an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, said Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, a geologist at the Indonesian Science Institute.