Very strong earthquake close to Simeulue and Banyak Islands, Sumatra, Indonesia

Last update: January 27, 2011 at 6:13 am by By

Earthquake Simeulue January 26 2011

FINAL UPDATE: Another good result – no damage or casualties reported from authorities. Unless new information comes to hand, this has been moved to GREEN.

UPDATE 18:10 UTC : The epicenter location as preliminary set by USGS has been confirmed by local seismology specialists at BMKG

UPDATE 17:56UTC : Serambinews from Aceh province Indonesia did report that the houses in Sinabang (Simeulue) were  NOT damaged.

UPDATE 17:47UTC : SUMATRA mainland will have experienced a light shaking which will certainly be NOT damaging.
Only information coming from Simeulue Island, Banyak Islands, Babi and Lasia islands are relevant for the impact of this earthquake.

UPDATE 17:32 UTC : EMSC has increased the Magnitude from M 5.7 to M 6.0 at a modified depth of 22 km.
BMKG (Indonesia) maintains his magnitude and depth as preciously reported (M 5.8 at 21 km).

UPDATE 17:29 UTC : USGS  has calculated that nearly 3,000 people will experience a VI MMI shaking = strong shaking.
Pulau Babi and Pulau Lasia will probably experience a MMI VII shaking (very strong shaking) as they are almost on top of the shallow hypocenter.

UPDATE 17:25 UTC : Based on the strength of the earthquake, the hypocenter depth and the distance to the 2 most populated places nearby, Sinabang (Simeulue) and Alaban (Banyak Islands) we can predict that these towns will not be damaged .

UPDATE 17:22 UTC : It will take until tomorrow morning (10 hours from now) before we may get more information from the islands.

UPDATE 17:19 UTC : The islands are popular for scuba divers, but as the earthquake happened at late night, tourists will certainly not be diving when the earthquake struck.

UPDATE 17:14 UTC : The second island close to the epicenter is Pulau Babi (Babi Island), just a couple of km’s from the epicenter location and only a few km from Pulau Lasia (Lasia Island)

UPDATE 17:05 UTC : The epicenter is only 5 to 10 km from Pulau Lasia (Lasia Island), an island at the southern side of Simeulue and west of the Banyak Islands. It is unclear whether this island is populated, but it is certain that it should be populated only small and primitive villages will be present. These (mostly) tribal settlements have wooden or bamboo houses who are less vulnerable for earthquakes. Tsunamis are often the highest earthquake risk for these settlements.

UPDATE 16:56 UTC :
149 people are living within a radius of 10 km around the epicenter
1,285 people are living within a radius of 20 km around the epicenter
12,284 people are living within a radius of 50 km around the epicenter
143,960 people are living within a radius of 100 km around the epicenter
(these numbers are based on the preliminary epicenter location of USGS)

UPDATE 16:48 UTC : GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries

UPDATE 16:40 UTC : NO tsunami alerts from Indonesia BMKG or NOAA on Simeulue, Indonesia earthquake

UPDATE 16:27 UTC : Conflicting numbers concerning magnitude and depth. EMSC (Europe reports M 5.7 at a depth of 15 km. BMKG (Indonesia) reports M 5.8 at 21 km

UPDATE 16:18 UTC : NO tsunami bulletins from NOAA . NO local tsunami alert.

Strong shallow seaquake in between Simeulue and the Sumatra mainland.
Approx. 20 km from Pulau Banyak and 147 km NW Gunung stoli (pop 24,787).
The Banyak Islands (sometimes spelled Banjak Islands) are a group of mostly uninhabited islands located between Simeulue and Nias off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia’s Aceh Province, consisting of 99 small land masses. The largest island in the group is Tuangku (Great Banyak), with the principal town of Alaban. Two other major islands located either side of Tuangku are Bangkaru and Bago. Tuangku is separated from Bangkaru by a fault line.
Epicenter close to the April 2010 M 7.8 epicenter earthquake.

Most important Earthquake Data (preliminary):
Magnitude : 6.1
UTC time : Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:42:29 PM at epicenter
Local time at epicenter : Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 15:42:29 UTC
Depth (Hypocenter) : 26.7 km satellite map + I Did Feel It form
Geo-location(s) :
Close to the Simeulue and the Banyak Islands.
Distance to Sumatra mainland approx. 150 km

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
USGS Shaking map

USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS impact on population map

USGS Seismic hazard map

LIVE SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)
GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

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