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Tsunami warning after powerful quake hits off coast of western Indonesia

10.01.2012 15:39 EST
BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA—A powerful earthquake hit waters off western Indonesia early Wednesday, prompting officials to issue a tsunami warning. Panicked residents poured into the streets, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7.3-magnitude quake struck 420 kilometres offthe coast of Aceh province just after midnight. It was centred 30 kilometres beneath the ocean floor.
Residents in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and other cities along the coast fled theirhomes and waited in the streets. Patients were evacuated from at least one hospital as a precaution.
“It was very strong,” said Darmili, district headin Seumele. “But so far we're not hearing anything about injuries or real damage.”
Officials elsewhere had similar reports.
Arief Akhir, of Indonesia's geological agency, said a tsunami warning had been issued. But more than anhour after the quake, there were no signs of seismically triggered waves.
Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault linesencircling the Pacific Basin.
A giant quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000people, half of them in Aceh.

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