By Hannah Masterson
A massive 8.6 earthquake has struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday afternoon (Indonesia time), activating a tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean.
The quake struck about 434 kilometres southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia’s Aceh province, and had a magnitude of 8.6 which had been downgraded from an initial 8.7 said the U.S. Geological Survey.
It took place at a depth of 23 kilometres and strong aftershocks have been recorded as far away as Singapore and Thailand.
The Indonesian province is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis as it was devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
Officials say that residents of the Indian islands have been ordered to
leave low-lying areas as there are already signs of the water receding on
the coastline. Waves as high as six meters could hit an Indonesian island,
In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude underwater earthquake struck off the coast of
Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people in 14
countries. The majority of the deaths were in Indonesia, with Aceh bearing
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