LIVE: Experts Explain Lack of Indian Ocean Tsunami Following Indonesia Earthquake

Live Update: 11:01 a.m. By nightfall in Indonesia, the country has grown increasingly quiet. The earthquake did not cause any major damage. No tsunamis were reported with only small waves of 80 cm reaching land.

9:35 a.m Experts said that today's earthquakes that hit the Indian Ocean were geologically different than the 2004 earthquake that lead to the fatal tsunami. In today's quakes, the tectonic plates slide against each other horizontally, creating more of a vibration in the water. In the 2004 quake, the plates slide more vertically, creating a massive wave.

A massive earthquake 8.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the coast of Indonesia earlier today. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has released a tsunami alert across the Indian Ocean.

The 8.6 magnitude earthquake was followed by a second 8.3 magnitude quake. There have been no reports of damage yet although a Thai government official reported a large wave hitting Koh Miang island, off Phang Nga.

The PTWC, which is responsible for tsunami alters in the Pacific, reported that if no major waves hit two hours following the last quake, it is safe to assume the threat has passed, although danger remains for boats and coastal structures. 

The PTWC also warned that a tsunami may be a series of waves spaced out between 5 minutes to one hour each. The first wave may not be the largest.

The US Geological Survey, which is responsible for reporting on earthquakes, reported that the earthquakes themselves did little damage. The chart below shows the low risk of casualties from the quakes:

Earthquake Location


Low risk of casualties from the quakes


The Indian Ocean has been regularly hit by earthquakes. The famous Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 killed 170,000 people in Aceh alone and a total of 250,000.