Saturday, May 29, 2010

5.4 quake hits northwest China

BEIJING : A 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit China's remote northwestern Qinghai province Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, in the same region where a strong quake killed more than 2,000 people last month.

The quake, which struck at 10:29 am (0229 GMT), was centred in Yushu prefecture, 376 kilometres (234 miles) south-southeast of Golmud at a depth of 50 kilometres.

The remote, high-altitude region, which borders northern Tibet, is sparsely populated.

China's seismological bureau said the quake had a magnitude of 5.7.

In April, a powerful, 6.9-magnitude quake struck the same region, killing more than 2,000 peopleand flattening thousands of homes in Yushu, an ethnically Tibetan region.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage caused by the latest quake.

An official at the Yushu prefecture civil affairs bureau told AFP: "Yes, we felt the quake here. We are now trying to find the epicentre and whether it has caused any damage." - AFP/jy

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Powerful quake hits Indonesia's Aceh

AFP - 39 minutes ago

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) - – A powerful quake with a magnitude of at least 7.2 hit the Indonesian province of Aceh on Sunday, causing panic in an area that was devastated by the killer waves of the 2004 tsunami.

Coastal residents fled from their homes and headed inland fearing a destructive tsunami but officials said no casualties were reported, although one official said part of a school under construction collapsed.

The quake hit at 12:59 pm (0559 GMT) 66 kilometres (41 miles) southwest of Meulaboh on the Aceh coast on the island of Sumatra, according to the local Meteorological and Geophysics Agency.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.4.

A local tsunami alert was issued by the Indonesian government but lifted about 90 minutes later.

The people of Aceh are still traumatised by memories of December 26, 2004, when the Indian Ocean smashed into the northern tip of Sumatra after a 9.3-magnitude quake split the seabed to the island's west.

An AFP correspondent in the provincial capital Banda Aceh said the ground shook for about three minutes on Sunday, sending people rushing from their homes and heading inland on motorcycles, cars and trishaws.

"This quake turned out not to be destructive. There's no report of damage to buildings, anyone injured or killed so far," Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono told AFP.

"There were many people who panicked and fled their homes. They were just so afraid that a tsunami would happen again," he added.

Part of a school building which was under construction on the tiny island of Simeulue south of Meulaboh has collapsed, local chief Darmili said, adding that there were no reports of damage elsewhere.

Indonesia was the nation hardest hit in the 2004 tsunami, one of the world's deadliest natural disasters, with at least 168,000 people killed out of more than 220,000 who lost their lives across the region.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity, and is frequently rattled by quakes.

Sunday's quake off Meulaboh, which lies on the northwestern tip of Sumatra, struck at a depth of 30 kilometres (18 miles), the local agency said, while the USGS put the depth at 61 kilometres.

Meulaboh was near the epicentre of the 2004 quake and one of the hardest hit areas, with around 40,000 people killed and more than 50,000 people left homeless.

The killer tidal wave had flattened the coastal city, destroying houses, roads and bridges destroyed and bringing down power and telephone lines.

"Although there's no tsunami, Meulaboh residents had panicked and would stay alert. They're still outside, scared to return to their homes," West Aceh district deputy head Fuadri told AFP after Sunday's quake.

In neighbouring Malaysia, the Meteorological Department said tremors were felt in the west coast of peninsular Malaysia including the resort island of Penang.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Sumatra in early April, leaving about 17 people injured when some houses collapsed.

In September last year, a 7.6-magnitude quake killed about 1,000 people in the port of Padang, western Sumatra, in September last year.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Moderate quake hits Indonesia

Posted: 08 May 2010 1530 hrs

JAKARTA: A moderate 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's West Nusa Tenggara province Saturday, the local meteorological and geophysics agency said, but no tsunami alert was issued.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), 68 kilometres northwest of Raba at 10:22 am (0322 GMT), according to the agency.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Later Saturday, a 5.8-magnitude quake hit Gorontalo province. There was no tsunami alert and no reports of damage.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

- AFP/jy