The sun was just rising as a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra (Sound familiar to tsunami watchers?). The earthquake occured at around 5:15 A.M, its epicenter 205 kilometers/125 miles northwest of Sibolga, Sumatra with a depth of 46 kilometers/28.6 miles according to the U.S Geological Survey.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire where there is always constant and sometimes huge movements of tectonic plates which triggers these earthquakes.
This earthquake [scaled on the Richter scale] did not wreak a colossal amount of damage to property but as tremors and vibrations of the ground were felt, villagers and other locals rushed up to any high ground they could find in a huge panic. A similar earthquake last September struck and killed approximately 1,100 people in Indonesia.
They cannot be blamed of course for their reaction of panic towards the earthquake. Soon after the earthquake lasted around a minute and twenty seconds, civilians on Sumatra feared the 7.7 magnitude earthquake would trigger a tsunami in similar intensity to the 9.2 magnitude 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which triggered a devestating tsunami known as the Sumatra tsunami which rushed onto Sumatra very quickly and killed more than 225,000 people from fourteen different countries in its onslaught in the area of the Indian Ocean.
There were several black outs resulting from the earthquake in different areas of Sumatra including the province of Aceh, no other damage has been reported as of yet except for a few damages to house roofs.
Multiple aftershocks struck soon after the 7.7 mag. earthquake measuring all the way up to 5.2. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had issued a tsunami warning only to lift it a couple hours later. Thailand also issued its own tsunami warning, protective of its cities that attract tourists. Countries in the past that had been victims of the 2004 Sumatra tsunami did not raise warnings as quickly as Thailand did.
Unlike the event in 2004, it seems unlikely that 7 billion USD won’t be donated to Indonesia this time. The Indonesian government has called for a calm atmosphere among its people and will investigate damages and be on the guard for aftershocks and waves.