Massive quake in Indonesia triggers tsunami alert

An undersea 8.6 earthquake struck Indonesia this morning at 04:38 ET, announced the U.S. Geological survey (USGS). The movement, which triggered a tsunami alert across the Indian Ocean, has forced all mining companies in Indonesia to halt their operations until further notice.

The earthquake struck 308 miles southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, at a depth of 20.5 miles. With a population of over 220,000, the island is located some 500 kilometers away from the epicentre.

Bruce Pressgrave, a geophysicist with the USGS, which documents quakes worldwide, told BBC that it was unlikely that a tsunami would be generated given that this type of earthquake, which involves horizontal movement of the earth's blocks, does not produce a column of water and hence a tsunami.

"There's always a hazard but with this kind of quake (a strike slip mechanism) it reduces the risk of a tsunami," BBC quoted Pressgrave as saying.

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX), Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE:NEM), 3D Resources Limited (ASX:DDD), Adavale Resources Limited (ASX:ADD) and Allied Indo Coal PT are some of the mining companies with a presence in Indonesia.

Initially reported as 8.9 magnitude, the earthquake was later revised down to 8.6 by the USGS.

(Photo and video from SkyNews)