Two quakes of magnitude 6.8 and 6.9 hits Indonesia

In the early hours of August 19, two large and shallow earthquakes struck off Indonesia’s Sumatra island that frightened the residents to flee their homes.

The quakes, of magnitude 6.8 and 6.9, struck within six minutes of one another from 5:23 am (22:23 GMT Tuesday) at a depth of between 22 and 26 kilometres, respectively.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage nor have tsunami warnings been issued. There was a “low likelihood of casualties and damage”, the USGS said.

The twin offshore quakes rocked Bengkulu city on Sumatra’s western coast and according to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency the area was hit by a string of aftershocks.

Rahmat Triyono, Head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s Tsunami and Earthquake Centre, said, “But until now we haven’t received any report of damages due to the Earthquakes.”

The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System said there was “no threat to countries in the Indian Ocean”.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide. It is imperative to note that shallower quakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

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