The island where the epicenter was is extremely small. I uploaded a couple diferent photos of the map to show the size. I am sure this will be a developing story. They are keeping an eye out for tsunamis at this stage.
Here is the Map - Opens in new window
UPDATE - 2-20-08 - 10am Pacific
Jakarta, Feb 20 (Xinhua) At least three people were killed and 25 seriously injured in Siemelu island of Indonesia's Aceh province after a powerful earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale rocked the province Wednesday, the health ministry said.
'Three people were killed and 25 others suffered from serious injuries,' Rustam Pakaya, head of the ministry's crisis centre, said. The victims were injured in the collapse of buildings, he added.
The toll was expected to rise, as many buildings collapsed and the rescue operation is still going on, said Pakaya. 'Telecommunication cut has hampered the coordination in the rescue effort,' he added.
Hundred of buildings collapsed in the powerful earthquake, which struck at 15:08 Jakarta time (0808 GMT) with epicentre 42 km northwest Sinabang town in Siemelu Island and 30 km beneath the earth.
Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics Agency put the magnitude of the quake at 6.6, while the Hong Kong Observatory said the quake was measured at 7.6 on the Richter scale.
Meiky Pondianto, a military officer in charge at the Aceh provincial military command, confirmed the damage. He said by telephone, 'The district office, health clinic, tax office buildings and residence houses damaged.'
The powerful quake triggered tsunami alerts by Thailand's National Disaster Warning Centre for the resort island of Phuket and five nearby provinces and by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for Indonesia. Both centres later lifted the tsunami alerts.
Pakaya, said hundred of people in Siemelu island, the closest area to the epicentre, fled homes and ran away to higher areas due to the issue of tsunami alert.
While in the second hardest hit of Meulaboh town and other areas there were no damage, the National Disaster Management Agency said.
The intensity of the quake was felt at 6 MMI (modified mercalli intensity) at Meulaboh town, 3 to 4 MMI in Banda Aceh, 3 MMI in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra and Sibolga town of the province, an official of the agency, Agung Mulyo Utomo said.
The intensity in Siemelu Island could not be known as the public communication is cut off.
The tremor was also felt in the North Sumatra Capital of Medan, which is located about 290 km from the epicentre.
TV footage showed people stormed out in panic from multi-story buildings in the country's third largest city.
The quake also shook Nias Island and the Aceh capital of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, where over 130,000 people were killed in the 2004 earthquake-triggered tsunami.
'Today's earthquake was not tsunami potential as it was centered inland,' a staff with the agency told Xinhua.
2/20/2008 - Indonesian Time
A major earthquake shook western Indonesia on Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The magnitude 7.5 quake's epicenter was about 195 miles (315 km), south-southeast of Banda Aceh, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the USGS said on its Web site.
A 2004 earthquake near Banda Aceh killed hundreds of thousands of people. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a local tsunami watch for the area -- normal protocol in such instances.
It is up to local governments to issue tsunami warnings. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, according to Indonesian national radio.
The December 26, 2004 earthquake registered 9.0 -- the strongest quake in 40 years -- and was centered about 100 miles from Banda Aceh.The 2004 quake caused a tsunami that affected the entire Indian Ocean, leaving more than 300,000 people dead or still listed as missing, according to accumulated information from government and health officials, compiled by the United Nations.
The following is a release by the United States Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center:
An earthquake occurred 310 km (195 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, 310 km (195 miles) WSW of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia, 335 km (210 miles) WNW of Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia, 1545 km (960 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia at 1:08 AM MST, Feb 20, 2008 (3:08 PM local time in Indonesia).
The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. No reports of damage or casualties have been received at this time; however, this earthquake may have caused damage due to its location and size.
Earthquakes of this type sometimes cause tsunamis, however the USGS has no information that an actual tsunami has been generated. For information about tsunamis, contact the
NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers at http://tsunami.gov.