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Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 09:09 UK

Earthquake off Indonesia's Aceh triggers tsunami alert

Map showing Aceh province, Indonesia

An earthquake of magnitude 7.4 has struck offshore near the Indonesian island of Sumatra, near Aceh province.

The quake struck 214km (133 miles) south of Aceh's capital of Banda Aceh, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

A local tsunami alert was issued and later lifted by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The site is very near that of 2004's 9.2 magnitude earthquake. About 220,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami the quake triggered.

The epicentre of the latest quake was at a depth of 61.4km, about 66km (41 miles) south-west of Meulaboh district, the USGS said.

The district, and other parts of Aceh, were devastated in the 26 December 2004 earthquake.

Ring of Fire

The quake hit at 1259 (0559 GMT). Local media reported some houses were damaged and power lines knocked down, Associated Press news agency said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its tsunami watch several hours after the earthquake.

Residents of Aceh after the earthquake - 9 May 2010
The earthquake caused some panic in parts of Aceh

"Sea level readings indicate that a significant tsunami was not generated," the Hawaii-based centre said in a statement on its website.

"Therefore, the tsunami watch issued by this center is now cancelled."

The USGS earlier said it believed there was no threat of a destructive, widespread tsunami but the possibility of a local tsunami existed.

Indonesia is located on the volatile Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of tectonic activity girdling the Pacific Ocean that triggers earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Aceh is on the north-western tip of Sumatra, one of Indonesia's main islands, and is frequently rocked by earthquakes.

One last year near Padang in West Sumatra province killed more than 1,000 people.

About 170,000 people were killed in Aceh from the 2004 earthquake and the tsunami it launched.

The waves spread across the Indian Ocean to cause death and destruction as far away as Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.



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