Sumatra earthquake also felt in Singapore and Johor

JAKARTA • An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra yesterday, with tremors also felt in Singapore and Johor Baru.

There were no reports of casualties or damage from the quake, which hit at a depth of 35km at 10.08am (11.08am Singapore time), at a distance of 73km west of the city of Bengkulu, according to the United States Geological Survey.

"The earthquake was quite strong and shallow. It was felt all the way to Padang, West Sumatra, but there was no threat of a tsunami," Mr Mochammad Riyadi, an official at Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, told Agence France-Presse.

Several Twitter users reported they felt the tremors in Singapore.

Professor Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore at the Nanyang Technological University, said the quake happened near the 8.4-magnitude one that struck Sumatra in 2007.

With a magnitude of 6.5, the latest quake was milder. The 2007 quake would have had about 1,000 times the energy compared to yesterday's temblor, said Prof Sieh.

He added that people who felt the tremors in Singapore would likely have felt them from the upper floors of tall buildings, which sway more during distant quakes compared to the lower floors.

In Bengkulu, resident Neng Hasnah said the quake was very strong for a few seconds, forcing her and her family to flee the house.

"I was carrying my seven-month- old granddaughter and I had to run. All the neighbours also ran outside their homes," she told AFP.

Some people in Johor Baru also said they felt the tremors.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) public relations officer Mohamad Riduan Akhyar said occupants in two buildings felt the movements at about 11am.

He said the buildings were the Customs Tower in Tebrau and the Inland Revenue Board building in Tampoi, The Star daily reported.

"We received an emergency call over the incident at about 11.23am, and officers were deployed to the areas," he said in a statement.

"Both buildings were evacuated as a safety precaution," he added. No injuries were reported.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Last December, an earthquake struck Indonesia's western Aceh province, killing more than 100 people, injuring many more and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

• Additional reporting by Audrey Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'Sumatra earthquake also felt in Singapore and Johor'. Print Edition | Subscribe