A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to the Indonesian Geophysical Agency, the third tremor to shake the region since Monday morning. Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) recorded a shallow earthquake off the Mentawai Islands off Sumatra’s west coast just before 10:30 a.m. and said it did not trigger a tsunami warning. The agency previously recorded a magnitude of 6.4 but revised it to 6.1, a BMKG spokesman said.
Three consecutive earthquakes have hit the area with increasing intensity since Monday morning, with a 5.2-magnitude tremor recorded before dawn, followed less than an hour later by a 5.4-magnitude quake. The 6.1-magnitude earthquake was strongly felt for several seconds by residents of the Mentawai Islands, the provincial capital of Padang and the surrounding mountainous region of Bukitinggi, the disaster agency said in a statement. The agency said there were no reports of casualties, but there was minor damage to buildings on Siberut Island.
Separately, Novriadi, a local disaster official in the Mentawai Islands, told Reuters that residents of several villages had been evacuated to higher ground, and a local church, school and medical facility were slightly damaged. The disaster agency urged the public not to panic and warned of possible aftershocks. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Padang in 2009, killing more than 1,100 people, injuring many more and causing widespread destruction. Indonesia straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, where different tectonic plates of the earth’s crust meet and create frequent seismic activity.