April 10, 2005
PADANG, Indonesia (Reuters) - An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 rattled parts of Indonesia on Sunday, sending people in this city on Sumatra island rushing out of their homes and heading toward high ground in fear of a possible tsunami.
However, there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, or that the quake had actually caused a tsunami, officials in Jakarta said.
Quakes have been common in Indonesia since a massive temblor on Dec. 26 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean that killed more than 180,000 people. Nearly 50,000 more are still unaccounted for from that disaster.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, no tsunami warning has been issued as a result of the quake, but it also said there are no tsunami detection devices in the immediate area of the quake.
The latest quake was felt in Indonesia's neighbor Singapore as well.
A Reuters reporter in Padang, a city of some 800,000 on Sumatra's west coast, said he saw many people leave their houses and seek higher ground.
The United States Geological Survey said on its Web site http://earthquake.usgs.gov that the quake, which struck at 1729 local time (6:29 a.m. EDT) was "strong" and located in the Indonesia's Kepulauan Mentawai region.
It said that aftershocks of 5.8 and 6.3 magnitude occurred in the same region at 6:45 a.m. EDT and 7:14 a.m. EDT, respectively.
"It's part of the chain of previous quakes. It's not an aftershock," Fauzi, an official with the national meteorological bureau in Jakarta, told Reuters.
Wijayanto, another Jakarta official monitoring quake activity, said: "We are still checking with Padang but there is no damage report until now."
He said the quake epicenter was in the ocean 105 km (65 miles) southwest of Padang at a depth of 30 km.
Singapore's Channel News Asia said residents of high-rise apartments in the city state reported feeling their buildings swaying.