Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck west of Sumatra, Indonesia shortly after midnight, causing residents to flee their homes and prompting a brief tsunami warning. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.
The temblor struck at 12:37 a.m. local time about 420 kilometers (260 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh at a depth of 29 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website.
“People panicked and ran out of their houses, and some headed for the hills,” Satrio Happrobo, an operational staff member at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s Banda Aceh office, said by phone. The provincial capital sustained no damage to buildings and there were no reports of injuries, he said. A local tsunami warning was lifted at 3 a.m.
Indonesia, a country of more than 17,000 islands, is prone to earthquakes as it forms part the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines surrounding the Pacific Basin.
A 7.5-magnitude temblor and resulting tsunami struck the Kepulauan Mentawai region of Indonesia, about 240 kilometers from Padang, the provincial capital of West Sumatra, on Oct. 25, 2010, leaving least 113 people dead and 150 others missing
A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in the same area in October 2009 left more than 1,000 people dead in Padang, many of whom were buried in mudslides and the rubble of collapses buildings. Less than a month earlier, a magnitude-7 temblor south of Java on Sept. 2 left 82 people dead.
A tsunami generated by a magnitude-9.1 earthquake off northern Sumatra in December 2004 left about 220,000 people dead or missing in 12 countries around the Indian Ocean.
A magnitude 7 earthquake carries about as much as energy as 199,000 tons of TNT, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
--With assistance from Jeran Wittenstein in San Francisco, Kevin Reynolds in New York. Editors: Greg Ahlstrand
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