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M7.8 Banyak Islands Earthquake, 2010


6 April 2010 *UTC*


W of Pulau Tuangku


22:15:02 UTC (05:15:02 WIT)


02.360 N (PDE)


97.132 E (PDE)


31.0 kms (PDE)


Mw 7.8 (HRV), 7.7 (PDE)

Additional Info

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A major earthquake struck the Banyak Islands, between Simeulue and Nias Islands, off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia on 7 April 2010 at 05:15 AM local time. It had a magnitude of Mw=7.8 causing some damage and several injuries in the epicentral region. Despite it size but given its location, it did not generate a destructive tsunami although a small, local tsunami was reported and recorded. This is the strongest earthquake in this immediate region since a Mw=7.4 earthquake on 20 February 2008.

The earthquake was centred 13.9 kms N of Pulau Tuangku (Banyak Islands), Indonesia,
25 kms W of Pulau Ujung Batu (Banyak Islands), Indonesia,
77 kms W of Singkil (Sumatra), Indonesia,
85 kms ESE of Sinabang (Simeulue Island), Indonesia,

131.6 kms NW of Gunungsitoli (Nias Island), Indonesia,

218 kilometres SW of Medan (Sumatra), Indonesia,

225 kilometres SE of Meulaboh (Sumatra), Indonesia,

430 kilometres SE of Banda Aceh (Sumatra), Indonesia,
513 kilometres W of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,

520 kms WNW of Pekanbaru (Sumatra), Indonesia,
621 kilometres SE of Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar Island), India,
750 kms WNW of Sentosa, Singapore,
1,307 kms SSW of Bangkok, Thailand.

At least 62 people were injured in this earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia. At least 6 injuries were critical due to house collapses, 4 due to electricity poles falling on them and one person suffered a non-fatal heart attack. Several houses collapsed in the village of Teupah Selatan on Simeulue Island. Buildings sustained damaged elsewhere on the island, including two government buildings, and electricity poles were uprooted knocking out power to the entire island. On Nias Island and on Simeulue Island, strong tremors sent the residents of Guningsitoli, Sinabang and other towns running for higher ground. The earthquake caused a power failure in Banda Aceh and in Medan adding to the panic. Telecommunication networks were also disrupted in Aceh where many people fled to higher ground fearing a tsunami. At Banda Aceh, the earthquake was felt for close to a minute sending people running outdoors. The dome of the Sementara Masjid collapsed at Pemuka village in Singkil. Several houses were flooded by "knee-high" water in Singkil at Pasar, Pulo Saro, Singkil Lama, Titi Ambria and Ujung, when land alongside the river subsided by as much as 30-centimetres. Tremors were also felt at the Arun LNG plant in Lhokseumawe and in the port of Belawan; power supply was disrupted at the port but no damage was reported. Tremors were felt strongly throughout Sumatra Uttara province and at Medan where people rushed outdoors in panic across the city including at the city's main hospital. At Binjai, many people ran outdoors. At Sibolga, the quake was felt strongly for close to a minute, pulled down utility poles and knocked a motorcycle rider off his bike. Tremors caused panic at Takengon and were also felt at Sigli and Langsa; a power failure occurred at Langsa after the earthquake. At Sibulusalam, a three storey nursing academy was damaged. Shocks were also felt in Sumatera Barat and in Riau regency. At Pekanbaru, in Riau regency, patients at the district hospital were evacuated into the parking lot even though the building did not sustain any damage.

Light tremors were felt as far away as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
In Malaysia, tremors were felt in many parts of the country including in high-rise buildings at Petaling Jaya and on Penang island including those on Macallum Street, Rifle Range and Sungai Ara causing fear among residents. In Thailand, tremors were felt in Songhkla province and in the southern city of Hat Yai. According to the USGS CIIM, tremors were felt as far as Malé in the Maldive Islands.

A small local tsunami was generated by this earthquake. In the Banyak Islands, several boats were marooned, damaging five, when the sea rushed onshore. Several houses were submerged. However, there were no casualties as most of the island's residents had headed for higher ground. The tsunami was also recorded at tide guages at Singkil and Teluk Dalam. Press reports claimed the sea level dropped "several metres" that prompted many people to flee to higher ground in coastal Sumatra. There was some panic in the villages of Gunong Kleng Putong suak on the border of West Aceh and Nagan Raya, after rumours of a rise in the sea level. H
undreds of residents of Barat Daya, , Sialang, Suak Bakong and Pulo Air in the sub-district of Kluet Selatan evacuated to Sapik Durian Kawan villages in the Kluet Timur sub-district. Many residents of Kemumue village and other villages living on  the coast in Labuhan Haji sub-district in South Aceh regency, moved to higher areas. From Aceh Barat regency, thousands of residents living in the coastal areas, especially in the regency capital of Meulaboh also moved to higher regions.

A tsunami watch was issued by the PTWC but later lifted for the coast of Indonesia. Tsunami watches were also issued by local agencies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand but were later lifted. In Malaysia, tsunami advisories were issued for Kedah, Perlis and Pinang. In Thailand, advisories were issued for the coastal areas of all provinces on the Andaman Sea and asked residents to prepare to evacuate in case deemed necessary. Tsunami advisories were not issued for the Indian mainland or for the Andaman & Nicobar islands after INCOIS models determined the event posed no danger.

01) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.
Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
03) Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, India.
04) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.

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Page Updated: 10 May 2010 | Website Disclaimer

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