Thursday, April 12, 2012

Five people killed in Indonesian Aceh earthquakes

Two big earthquakes that struck off the Indonesian province of Aceh on Wednesday caused the deaths of five people - three from heart attacks and two from shock, disaster officials say.

They have expressed relief over the low casualty figures; 70,000 people died in the 2004 tsunami in Aceh.

However the chaos caused by the 8.6 and 8.3 magnitude quakes enabled about 49 inmates to escape from prison.

Scientists meanwhile have been explaining why there was no tsunami.

They say the main difference was that in 2004, one tectonic plate slipped beneath another, displacing a huge volume of water.

Wednesday's quakes in contrast resulted from the plates rubbing laterally against each other - their movements although violent were less likely to create huge waves.

"In this case the movement in the earthquakes was horizontal - and horizontal movements do not create bulges on the surface of the ocean which generate tsunamis," geophysics Professor John McCloskey told the BBC.

"Very quickly after the quakes were recorded we were able to say that it was unlikely there would be a tsunami." Read More