Banda Aceh, Indonesia — A massive 8.6-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia triggered tsunami fears across the Indian Ocean today sending people in coastal cities fleeing to high ground.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck about 434 kilometers (270 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia’s Aceh province, and had a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles).
While there were no reports of casualties or significant damage from the initial quake, a strong aftershock — measuring 8.2 — nearly three hours later sparked a new wave of panic. Indonesia’s government responded by issuing a fresh tsunami warning.
Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told reporters at a news conference in Jakarta that the earthquake had caused “a little bit of panic.”
In Banda Aceh, which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2004, buildings shook for several minutes, and people poured into the streets from their homes, said Rizal, a resident of the city reached by telephone.
“The only problem we had was people panicking,” said Rizal, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.
The 2004 tsunami, caused by a giant 9.1-magnitude earthquake, killed 230,000 people in more than a dozen countries.
Wednesday’s quake was at approximately the same depth as the 2004 Indian Ocean quake. It reportedly rattled buildings as far away as Singapore, Thailand, and India.
CNN writes that Indonesia is on the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
For more on the 2012 Indonesia earthquake watch the following video from the Associated Press: