Three moderate earthquakes rocked each end of the Indonesian archipelago early on Sunday morning, sending thousands fleeing their homes in fear of a tsunami, but causing no reported damage, officials and residents said.
The office of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Banda Aceh said the area experienced a 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 2:26 a.m. local time.
BMKG official Maimuddin said the epicenter of the quake was in the Nicobar Sea, about 420 kilometers northwest of Aceh’s We Island, and at a depth of 21 kilometers.
“There was no tsunami alert raised for Indonesia, but the alert was raised for parts of India,” Maimuddin told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. “The warning was lifted later in the day, though.”
Banda Aceh resident Khaidir, 35, said he had been asleep at the time of the quake. He said a strong jolt woke him up, and he immediately woke his wife and baby, rushing with them to safety.
“Everyone in my neighborhood was scrambling for higher, open ground,” he said. “The earthquake lasted about two minutes.”
Another Banda Aceh resident, Heri, 24, said he had been watching a televised World Cup football match at the time, along with about 100 other people at a cafe. He said everyone fled the moment the quake struck.
“Most people went home immediately afterward to check up on their family and property,” Heri said. “Others, though, stayed on at the cafe to watch the game between England and the US.”
Meanwhile, two smaller quakes jolted Ternate, in the province of North Maluku, on Sunday.
The first struck at 10:57 a.m., local time, and was recorded by the BMKG as having a magnitude of 5.0. However, the US Geological Survey recorded it as magnitude 4.8. The quake, which struck just north of Ternate, did not trigger a tsunami warning, and there were no reports of casualties or property damage.
A second quake hit later in the day, centered further north in the Maluku Sea, 195 kilometers north-northwest of Ternate. This quake hit at 1:44 in the afternoon with a magnitude of 4.7. There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage.
The brace of quakes in the area come on the heels of a larger, 5.7-magnitude quake that struck on Wednesday morning. That quake had an epicenter close to Sunday’s second quake, about 135 kilometers north of Ternate.
Recent earthquakes in Aceh have been more powerful. The region has experienced a string of quakes of above magnitude 7.0 since April. A 7.2-magnitude quake that month near Simeulue Island led to dozens of injuries and caused severe damage to several homes and buildings.