A lot of seismic action lately along the "Rim of Fire". First Samoa. Now Indonesia.
Indonesian quake flattens buildings
Tsunami warning for region cancelled
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | 9:24 AM ET Comments4Recommend23
Office workers gather outside their building after feeling an earthquake tremor in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday. (Associated Press)
A powerful earthquake off the coast of western Indonesia has toppled buildings and sent residents fleeing for safety.
The 7.6-magnitude quake had an epicentre about 50 kilometres off the coast of Sumatra, according to Indonesia's meteorological agency.
The massive underwater quake, which had a depth of 85 kilometres, briefly prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to issue a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand. It was later lifted when there were no immediate reports of high waves.
Witnesses said people ran out of homes and buildings in fear when the quake hit in the early evening.
The tremor was felt in the capital of Jakarta, and in Singapore and Malaysia.
Television footage showed devastation, with piles of rubble and smashed houses in Sumatra.
The quake has also caused widespread power and phone line outages, according to officials, making it difficult to determine if there have been any casualties. Several injuries are being reported by witnesses.
Several buildings have reportedly collapsed in the coastal city of Padang in the Southern Sumatra province as well as in other town and cities.
Geologists have long said Padang, with a population of 900,000, may one day be destroyed by a huge earthquake because of its location.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago, straddles continental plates and is prone to seismic activity along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. The quake was along the same fault line that spawned the massive December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
Hours earlier, a tsunami had swept into Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, killing at least 99 people after a strong underwater quake in the South Pacific.
Bridges collapsed in Sumatra, according to reports, cutting off the coastal area.
There were also reports that the tremor caused several water pipelines to break, causing flooding in streets.
It is not yet clear if the quake had any impact on the country's large oilfields and liquefied natural gas terminal, which are also based on Sumatra.
With files from The Associated Press