The quake was felt in Singapore, Thailand and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia's west coast shook for at least a minute.
In India, tremors were reported in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and the southern part of Chennai. The tremors lasted for a few seconds. In Bhubaneshwar, people were seen running out of their homes and offices. No damage has been reported so far.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the powerful quake was centered 20 miles (33 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor around 308 miles (495 kilometers) from Aceh's provincial capital.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.
A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.
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Huge quake strikes off Indonesia, tsunami warning issued
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami watch was in effect for the entire Indian Ocean and individual countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, issued tsunami warnings.
People near the coast in six Thai provinces were ordered to higher ground.
The quake struck 308 miles southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island, at a depth of 20.5 miles, the U.S. Geological survey said.
Indonesia's disaster management agency said power was down in Aceh province and people were gathering on high ground as sirens warned of the danger.
"The electricity is down, there are traffic jams to access higher ground. Sirens and Koran recitals from mosques are everywhere," said Sutopo, spokesman for the agency.
The quake was felt as far away as the Thai capital, Bangkok, and in southern India, residents said.
Hundreds of office workers in the Indian city of Bangalore left their buildings while the Indian port of Chennai closed down because of the danger of a tsunami, the port said.
The quake was in roughly in the same area as a December 26, 2004, quake of 9.1 magnitude, which sent huge tsunami waves crashing into Sumatra, where 170,000 people were killed, and across the Indian Ocean.
In all, the 2004 tsunami killed about 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.
The 2004 quake was at a depth of 18 miles along a fault line running under the Indian Ocean, off western Indonesia and up into the Bay of Bengal.
One expert told the BBC the Wednesday quake as a "strike-slip" fault, meaning a more horizontal shift of the ground under the sea as opposed to a sudden vertical shift, and less risk of a large displacement of water triggering a tsunami.
The quake was also felt in Sri Lanka, where office workers in the capital, Colombo, fled their offices, and the southern Thai holiday island of Phuket, both of which were hit hard by the 2004 tsunami.
In Bangladesh, where two tremors were felt, authorities said there appeared to be no threat of a tsunami. Australia also said there was no threat of a tsunami there.
(Reporting by Jakarta, Bangalore and Bangkok bureaus; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Big quake strikes off coast of Indonesia
- NEW: Residents in Banda Aceh are moving to higher ground
- A tsunami watch has been issued for the Indian Ocean
- The 8.7 magnitude quake took place off the coast of Aceh
- The Indonesian province was devastated by a tsunami in 2004
8.7-magnitude earthquake strikes off Indonesia, triggering tsunami watch
Indonesia issues tsunami warning after 8.7 Aceh quake
Readers of the Straits Times also reported feeling tremors in Serangoon, Raffles Place, and in eastern Singapore.
The quake's magnitude was 8.7, according to a revised measurement from the US Geological Survey, and it struck 431km off the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh.
The city was near the epicentre of a devastating 9.1-magnitude quake in 2004 that triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, which killed 220,000 people, including 170,000 in Aceh.
The latest tremor was felt as far afield as Thailand and southern India.
Magnitude 8.6 - OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA
2012 April 11 08:38:37 UTCVersión en Español
- This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
|Depth||22.9 km (14.2 miles)|
|Region||OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 13.5 km (8.4 miles); depth +/- 2.6 km (1.6 miles)|
|Parameters||NST=395, Nph=397, Dmin=514.3 km, Rmss=1.52 sec, Gp= 18°,|
M-type=(unknown type), Version=B
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