Indonesia and Australia have both issued tsunami warnings following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake off the island of Sumatra. Indonesia’s warning has since been lifted and no substantial damage has been reported, although there were an unknown number of casualties. The offshore quake was a shallow one, which tend to be associated with more devastation. The U.S. Geological Survey first reported the quake rated 8.2 before lowering the magnitude three times to settle at 7.8.

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The USGS put the epicenter 502 miles (808 km) southwest of Padang, West Sumatra’s capital city, and estimates the earthquake occurred six miles below the Earth’s surface. This quake occurred near the region hit following the 2004 Indian Ocean quake and subsequent tsunami, so residents and rescue workers are bracing for news of any damage.

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Although early reports indicated no damage or loss of life, Indonesian officials released an update with different news. “There are some who have died,” Heronimus Guru, the deputy head of operations of the country’s search and rescue agency told Reuters, without giving details.

Indonesia’s tsunami warning issued today covers West Sumatra, North Sumatra, and Aceh. In Australia, the warning applies to parts of the western coast. Not all undersea earthquakes cause tsunamis, but alerting residents of potential danger can help reduce injury and death in the event that one of the massive tidal waves were to occur.

Via Reuters

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