Sumatra Earthquake Measuring 6.1 Injures Dozens, Damages Hospital

Image: Sumatra Earthquake Measuring 6.1 Injures Dozens, Damages Hospital

Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 11:07 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Dozens of people were injured and a hospital floor collapsed in a 6.1 magnitude earthquake early Tuesday on the northern tip of Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia, west of the Sunda Islands.

The Sumatra earthquake measuring 6.1 rattled the epicenter of Bireunen at 7:37 a.m. local time, UPI.com reported.  The news service said officials reported the collapse of the second floor of a hospital during the earthquake.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that emergency officials were conducting a risk assessment Wednesday but stated that at least 10 homes were damaged.

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Xinhua reported that the intensity of the earthquake landed between 3 to 4 on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale in Banda Aceh, Takengon, and Lhoksemawe, and 2 at Medan the provincial capital of North Sumatra. The Modified Mercalli Intensity scale measures shaking severity, according to U.S. Geological Survey.

The intensity scale consists of a series of certain key responses such as people awakening, movement of furniture, damage to chimneys, to total destruction, states the USGS. Lower scale numbers deal with how people felt the earthquake while higher numbers are based on structural damage.

"There are dozens of people wounded here," a head of the local disaster management and mitigation agency in Benermeriah of Aceh Province, told Xinhua over phone from Benermeriah.

Xinhua said earthquakes are commonplace in the Aceh Province. In December 2004, an earthquake in the Indiana Ocean killed 175,000 in the province alone and hundred thousands more in a following the tsunami.

Since then, UNESCO installed a tsunami monitoring system in 2006 dedicated to the Indian Ocean, said the BBC last year. Pressure sensors on the ocean floor detect anomalies in water columns and signal that information to surface buoys and then to satellites.

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BBC News said Sumatra Island lies close to an active subduction zone, where the Indian-Australian tectonic plate presses into and under the Sunda plate, making it a hotbed of earthquake activity.

In 2009, a 7.6-magnitude quake killed more than 500 people, reported the BBC. That earthquake caused hundreds of buildings to collapse in the city of Padang, while damaged roads and downed telephone lines slowed rescue efforts.

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