7.8 Earthquake Shakes Indonesia, triggers tsunami watch

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has jolted the Indonesian island of Sumatra and triggered a local tsunami watch.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck before dawn Wednesday. It was centered about 205 kilometers northwest of the island, 46 kilometers under the Indian Ocean.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says a local tsunami watch has been issued, but a widespread destructive tsunami is not expected.

There is no word yet on damage or casualties. But witnesses report a power blackout on Simeulue Island, west of Aceh province.

Sumatra is the largest Indonesian island. A 9.1 magnitude quake struck off Aceh in December, 2004, triggering a historic tsunami that killed 226,000 people.

Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ocean’s so-called Ring of Fire, where the continental plates meet. This creates conditions for frequent earthquake and volcanoes from Asia to the American Pacific coasts. VOA